Sunday, July 5, 2015

Malaysia shoot themselves in foot... again

MALAYSIA crumbled like dominoes to hand Ireland their first ever Olympics ticket when they went down 4-1 in the Fifth-Sixth placing match in the World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium yesterday.
  By finishing fifth, Ireland are assured of playing in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, while Malaysia will have to wait their turn and hope on luck that there are plenty of double qualifications from the Oceania Cup, Pan American, European Cup and that hosts Brazil do not finish in the top six bracket in the Pan American.
  The players only have themselves to blame as they had two golden chances to qualify but blew the quarterfinals 3-2 against India, and then went crashing against the Irish.
  Now Malaysia are fifth reserves behind Canada, Spain, Ireland and New Zealand.
  Ireland came charging in the first quarter, and scored two quick goals to place great pressure on Malaysia. Kyle Good slotted in a cheeky goal in the fifth, while a top of the semi-circle hit from Peter Caruth in the eighth minute made it 2-0.
  It was a better second quarter from Malaysia, as they won their first penalty corner immediately upon restart, but the Irish defense was stubborn.
  But luck ran out of the Malaysian bench when easy sitters were blown by Faizal Saari and Haziq Shamsul, and their poor attempts made Ireland goalkeeper David Harte look good.
  Coaches Tai Beng Hai, Nor Saiful Zaini and team manager Stephen van Huizen got their 10 minutes at the half-time break to motivate the players, as there is still time for Malaysia to pull off an upset.
  However, the Irish were better prepared with their counter attacks and made it 3-0 when Alan Sothern tappen in a cross in the 40th minute.
  After six penalty corners, finally a deflection from Faiz Jali went crashing into the net in the 55th minute.
  But the Irish were in no mood to give away their win and added their fourth in the 59th minute off Michael Darling.
  Meanwhile, Pakistan ended their campaign on another low when they were beaten 2-1 by France. Simon Martin (13th) and Hugo Genestet (30th) scored for France and Muhammad Toseeq (48th) for Pakistan.
  RESULTS: Final: Australia x Belgium x; Third-Fourth: India x Britain x; Fifth-Sixth: Malaysia 1 Ireland 4; Seventh-Eighth: Pakistan 1 France 2.

Pakistan 1 France 2

Pakistan ended their campaign on another low when they were beaten 2-1 by France in the 7th-8th classification at the World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium. 
  Simon Martin (13th) and Hugo Genestet (30th) scored for France and Muhammad Toseeq (48th) for Pakistan.

Play like Tigers...

Youth show promise...

IF nothing else comes out of Malaysia's campaign in Antwerp, three young Malaysians players have matured to lead the country into Next years New Delhi Junior World Cup.
  Meor Azuan, Shahril Saabah and Haziq Shamsul have scored goals as well as showed maturity, and they are just 21 and the right age to lead the Junior Asia Cup in Kuantan in November.
  From Kuantan, four teams qualify for the Junior World Cup and the prediction is Malaysia, India, Pakistan and South Korea.
  Meor, who scored a crucial goal against France to take Malaysia into the fifth-sixth bracket said: "This is my first international goal with the senior side and Oh! what a feeling is was!
  "Ive played in the last Junior World Cup, but the feeling here is so much different and challenging. And it was a big relief for me to have finally helped the team by scoring against France," said Meor.
  Meor, 21, scored the second goal to give Malaysia the lead, after his junior team-mate Haziq Shamsul scored the equalsier.
  France had taken the lead, but the two Junior World Cup players delivered for Malaysia before seniors Faizal Shaari and Razie Rahim made it look like an easy 4-1 win.
  It was Haziq's third goal of the tournament: "I'm just happy I could help Malaysia reach a playoff stage where we have a chance to the Olympics," said Haziq.
  And of Malaysia do beat Ireland today and make the trip to Rio de Janeiro next year, Meor, Haziq and Shahril Saabah will be on that plane.
  As for Ireland Malaysia have a good record, but records don't matter at this level.
  Malaysia beat Ireland in the last two encounter -- 4-2 in the Champions Challenge in Kuantan and again 4-2 in Group B in Antwerp -- and will have to bring out their best again today.
  Ireland beat Pakistan 1-0 for the first time in their history of 10 encounters, to deny them the Olympics for the first time ever.
  "We will give our very best again, and I personally have a good feeling that we can beat Ireland and finish fifth here. All of us badly want to play in the Olympics, but almost missed the boat when we lost to India. We are not about to give uo our second chance though," said lanky defender Baljit Singh who stopped France during penalty corners with his kamikaze runs.
  Malaysia might need to break a few bones, and receive a few cuts today to beat the Irish -- but it would be worth the ticket to Rio de Janeiro, and the tag 'Olympian' for the rest of their lives.
   SUNDAY: Final: Australia v Belgium (12 midnight); third-fourth: India v Britain (9.30pm); fifth-sixth: Malaysia v Ireland (7pm); seventh-eighth: Pakistan v France (5.30pm).

Poised for Olympics...

MALAYSIA are poised to play in the Olympics after a lapse of 16 years, as fifth and sixth placing in the World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium, are bound to qualify via double qualifications.
  To make matters easy for everybody, a simple explanation will be made here, as the scenario right now is same as the World League Semifinals hosted by Malaysia for the 2014 Hague World Cup.
  The only difference now is that Netherlands as hosts were automatic qualifiers, while Brazil as 2016 hosts must finish among the top six in the Pan American to qualify.
  Lets start with the Argentina World League Semifinals where the positions were 1 Germany, 2 Argentina, 3 Holland and 4 Canada.
  And lets assume at the ongoing Antwerp World League the end positions would be 1 Australia, 2 Belgium, 3 Britain, 4 India.
  Six teams, the top-three from both the World League Semifinals, are automatic qualifiers and that means Australia, Belgium, Britain, Germany, Argentina and Holland will make up six of the 12 Olympic teams.
  With five continental tournaments to offer Olympic tickets as well, there is bound to be double qualification.
  The Asian Games the only continental tournament which has been completed, with champions India taking up the seventh Rio de janeiro spot, and if they finish fourth in Antwerp, the first reserves would be Canada who were fourth in Argentina.
  The second reserves would be Spain (higher ranked than Malaysia and Ireland), who finished fifth in Argentina, and the third reserves would be the fifth spot in Antwerp (Malaysia/Ireland), the fourth reserve would be fourth placed New Zealand in Argentina (higher ranked than Malaysia and Ireland). And finally the fifth reserves would be the sixth spot in Antwerp which could belong to either Malaysia or Ireland.
  The World League format is a little long winded so bare with me.
  Now, with a long history and statistics to back the claim, the other four continental champions are easy to predict.
  In the Pan American it would be a toss between Argentina and Canada and this would open the first double qualification door. Likewise, Australia winning the Oceania Cup, and any of Netherlands/Germany/Belgium/Britain winning the European Championships; South Africa winning the African Cup and Brazil not making the top-six in the Pan American would open up five more tickets to the Olympics.
  As for South Africa, their Olympic Council has said that since they did not qualify for the World League Semifinals, they can't go to the Olympics even if they win the African Cup -- like they always do.
  If all the above has been confusing, and gibberish... rest assured that the fifth spot in Antwerp is 99 per cent going to Rio de Janeiro.
  And the sixth spot in Antwerp is 80 per cent heading towards the Olympics.
  So, Malaysia had better grab the 99 rather than the 80 per cent, by the horns when they meet Ireland today.