Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lets do the Argentine...

MALAYSIA are ready for their first win in the World Cup, when they face England at the Hague, Netherlands today.
   Coach K. Dharmaraj's men have paid their dues, when they lost 4-0 to World No 1 Australia and then 6-2 to World No 5 Belgium.
  England, even though ranked No 4 in the World, have not been impressive at the Hague as they drew 1-1 with no 9 Spain and could only beat world no 10 India 2-1.
   "We are no longer a threat in Group A, and that is the consensus here. Its fine with me and the boys, because we knew from the start that Australia and Belgium would be tough to beat, and our focus is on England, Spain and India.
  "We need to nail our first win tomorrow (today) to set the momentum for the remaining matches," said Dharmaraj.
   England coach Bobby Crutchley complimented India for giving his team a good contest.
   "It was a tough game and I think India played well," said Crutchley, adding that his team was "sloppy in parts of the first half."
   And that slopiness is what Malaysia need to capatalise on today for a win.
  "We have done our homework against England and I have a few surprises in store for them," said Dharmaraj.
   Belgium were also shocked when Razie Rahim did not take direct flicks during penalty corners, but took a step to the left and received a pass from Faizal Saari which confused the runners -- and Razie scored two goals then,
   But Tom Boon was on fire for Belgium, and his four goals killed Malaysia's hopes.
  "Back in defense, the players made some mistakes, but after two matches I am confident they are now better prepared to face their third opponents," said Dharmaraj.
    Argentina showed that world rankings mean nothing, and determination can overcome the best when they beat world no 2 Germany 1-0 in Group B on Tuesday.
   The South American's are ranked 11th in the World, and rewrote the textbook on how to play hockey when they beat the mighty Germans.
   German skipper Maximillan Muller also has sound advise for Malaysia when he lamented the Argentina defeat: "The players only gave 87 per cent against Australia, we can't win if we do not give 100 per cent in every match."
   The Argentina skipper Lucas Ray's advise is also applicable for Malaysia: "We learnt from our first match against the Netherlands (Dutch won 3-1) on what to do in our next match (against Germany).
   Malaysia should take a leaf from the Argentine book, as England must be beaten at all cost today.
  MALAYSIA’S World Cup Fixtures (Malaysian time) -- June   5: v England (7pm); June 7: v India (8.30pm); June 9: v Spain  (8.30pm).

Real test starts with England...

MALAYSIA were never expected to beat Australia and Belgium, so their World Cup campaign “actually” begins with the England match tomorrow.

And they must also prove themselves against India and then Spain.
World No 1 Australia and World No 5 Belgium are in a different league, as both are front-runners for a spot in the semi-finals from Group A.
However, Malaysia must start playing better hockey, as Australia had scored four goals with ease, while their defenders made Belgian Tom Boon look good when he scored four in the 6-2 drubbing.
Two-time World Cup and two-time Olympian Maninderjit Singh feels there is still hope, provided teamwork and hard-work are back in the Malaysian game.
Maninderjit, a defender, played in the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympics, while his World Cup appearances were in 1998 Utretcht and 2002 Kuala Lumpur.
“I have been there before, so I know how the boys are feeling after two demoralising defeats.
“Malaysia were never expected to beat Australia and Belgium, but they were also not expected to crack so easily as they did show promise in the Champions Challenge 1 (bronze medallists).
“That is why I believe if they start playing with more team-work, and put in more hardwork in defence, England, India and Spain can be beaten,” he said.
From his observation, Maninderjit feels the defenders were too slow to react and this led to goalkeeper S. Kumar becoming a shooting target.
“Luckily Kumar was at his element in both the matches, if not, the score could have reached double digits in both matches.
“This is because I do not see a commander in the back-line, who can call the shots and also, many players were in the semi-circle when the goals were scored, but all of them were mere spectators while Kumar was left on his own.
“By now, the defenders should know that the World Cup is a different league, and when one makes a mistake, recovery is almost impossible.
“So minimise damage by doing all the tackling outside the 25-yard, and also, stop playing too deep down as the midfield was almost non-existent in the two matches,” said Maninderjit.
England have beaten India 2-1 and drawn 1-1 with Spain — but they were not overly impressive.
Maninderjit’s advice to Malaysia, who only have No 2 goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin from the 2002 World Cup squad, is: “Have faith in your abilities, as you are now a World Cup player.
“The dignity must be maintained, as well as discipline on the pitch ... and the three points will follow suit.”
MALAYSIA’S World Cup fixtures (Malaysian time) — Thursday: v England (7pm); Saturday: v India (8.30pm); June 9: v Spain (8.30pm).

Perak keep their promise

THEY vowed to win the title in honour of the late Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah earlier in the tournament and that was what Perak did yesterday.

They whitewashed Negri Sembilan 6-0 in the Perlis Malaysia Games hockey competition final.
Perak were rampant from the start at the Perlis Sports Complex in Kangar and got on the scoresheet through Muhammad Haziq Samsul (fifth minute), Muhammad Akmal Md Tajuddin (11th minute penalty corner) and Mohd Ashran Awang Abas (34th) to enter the half-time break with a 3-0 lead.
Perak, who have not won the hockey gold since 1992, consolidated their lead with another three goals in the second-half from Mohamad Zulhamizan (46th), Mohd Ashran Hamsani (58th) and a penalty stroke by Syed Mohamad Syafiq seven minutes from time.
Perak coach Mohd Nizam Mohd Hashim said: “It was our intention to win this tournament in honour of the late Sultan Azlan Shah.
"Perak has been waiting for 22 years for this win and we would also like to dedicate it to the Perak people.
"More than half of this squad will still be able to play in two years’ time. Perak have also won the Malaysian Schools Sports Council championships twice in recent years, so we do have a bright future."
Defending champions Terengganu, who lost to Negri in the semi-finals, finished third after they downed Penang 4-2 in the playoff.
Federal Territories emerged victorious in the women's competition with a 3-0 win over Johor in the decider. Malacca, who lost to Johor in the last-four, clinched the bronze after defeating Terengganu 2-1.
Perak players celebrate after winning the hockey gold medal yesterday. Pic by Hasriyasyah Sabudin