Monday, July 16, 2018

Malaysian men sure bets for Asian Games semis

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian men's hockey team are confirmed to play in the semi-finals of the Asian Games on Aug 19-Sept 1.
  For, they only have to 'fear' Pakistan in Group B while Bangladesh, Oman, Thailand and Indonesia should receive hammerings.
  Group A has three heavy-weights in India, South Korea and Japan.
  "Yes, the grouping is very kind to us as we need to beat Pakistan to top the group but having said that, we will not take the other teams lightly as Bangladesh and Oman play very hard and determined hockey.
  "And if we top the group, I believe we will avoid India in the semi-finals as they are the favourites of the tournament (ranked no 6 in the world)," said Malaysian coach Stephen van Huzien.
  China's absence has also made it easier for Malaysia: "China have qualified for the World Cup but are not in the Asian Games and it has also actually made our group much more 'easier' to play in," said van Huizen.
  In the women's events, Malaysia are in Group A and need to beat Japan and they can even afford to lose to China but make the semi-finals as their other opponents are Hong Kong and Taiwan -- who should be easyly beaten.
  The winners of the Men’s and Women’s categories will book their place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. All matches will be played at the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Sports Complex, Jakarta, Indonesia.
  China are conspicuously missing from the men's tournament, as their government had placed them on ice after they performed badly in a recent tour of Canada, a source in the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) confirmed.
  Interestingly, China men have qualified for their first even World Cup in India pn Nov 28 to Dec 16.
  China qualified for their first World Cup thanks to a super performance from Malaysia in the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  China's spot was confirmed when Malaysia held South Korea to a 1-1 draw, a result which put the Malaysians into the final against India as well.
    This edition of the Games will be the first Asian Games to have Video Referral system for all matches on Pitch I, and that's why the men's and women's matches are being held on alternate days. 
  MEN -- Group A: India, South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong; Group B: Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Oman, Thailand, Indonesia.
  WOMEN -- Group A: China, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan; Group B: South Korea, India, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Indonesia.