Monday, July 1, 2013

Beat England, and door opens wider...

MALAYSIA play world No 4 England today in the World League Semi-finals, and a win would see them top Group B and avoid the big guns in the quarter-finals.
  The plan right now should be to avoid Germany and Argentina in the last eight, and by beating the English, Malaysia might just play Japan in the crossover.
  The math is simple, but the task at hand is almost monumental.
  Every team in the World League in Johor Baru aim to win at the quarter-finals stage, as it would give them two more chances in the semi-finals and third-fourth placing match to seal the three tickets to the World Cup.
  "To score 10 goals in two matches is really satisfying but in the same breath, we let in eight goals and that is cause to worry," summed up Malaysian coach Paul Revington.
  Malaysia drew 4-4 with Pakistan, after taking a 3-0 lead, and then were rewarded for their sharpness in the semi-circle when they beat South Africa 6-4.
  Faizal Saari, who seems to love playing at the Taman Daya Stadium where he started his 'career' by scoring eight goals in the 2009 Junior World Cup, called for extra help from the stands to achieve their target.
  "The fans at Taman Daya have been great, and I appeal that they turn up in a bigger number to cheer us when we play England.
   "It makes a big difference to our game, and we need their help to make it past a higher ranked England," said Faizal who has scored two goals.
  But Malaysia would need more than just a legion of cheering fans, as England are no pushovers.
  "We have had to make some major changes to the team after the London Olympics, as some retired, while others carried injuries.
  "It's unfortunate, but that is part of team re-building and what the new players lacked in experience, they covered up by sheer determination.
  "And I have a bunch of players here who are willing to give their best in every match, and it would be no different against Malaysia," said England coach Bobby Crutchley.
  After two draws against Pakistan (2-2) and South Africa (3-3), England are looking at a win against Malaysia.
  "Malaysia have speedy forwards who can take on any defenders, and we have to be wary of their counter-attacks. I believe it would be a tough match, but we are ready for it," said Crutchley.
  Revington, normally very optimistic, was a little cautious when asked about Malaysia's chances against England.
  "By rank, we are far off, but that is just numbers and I believe all the teams, with the exception of Germany, are of equal strength and only sharpness in the semi-circle will separate the winners form the losers," said Revington.



          P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
ARGENTINA 2  1  1  0  8  2  4
GERMANY   2  1  1  0  6  1  4
S KOREA   2  0  1  1  3  8  1
JAPAN     2  0  1  1  4  10 1


           P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
MALAYSIA   2  1  1  0  10 8  4
PAKISTAN   2  0  2  0  6  6  2
ENGLAND    2  0  2  0  5  5  2
S AFRICA   2  0  1  1  7  9  1

  TODAY: Group A: Germany v Japan (3pm), Argentina v Korea (5pm).
  Group B: England v Malaysia (7pm), South Africa v Pakistan (9pm).