Yesterdays fantastic results saw Malaysia and Canada booking their berth for the Olympic Qualifiers later this year.
But, the action isn’t over as yet. Malaysia will play Canada today for a podium position in the first of three Men’s FIH Hockey Series Finals.
Boasting a rich hockey legacy, Malaysia and Canada first played against each other, way back at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.
Ironically, both have booked places for the Olympic Qualifier that will then give them tickets to the final Olympic event that will stage in Tokyo again next year.
Going by the present form and rankings, there is hardly anything to differentiate between the two sides.
While Canada are placed tenth in the current world rankings, Malaysia are rung below in the thirteenth position.
The last time Malaysia and Canada faced each other, was at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup earlier this March, where Malaysia beat them (4-2) to finish third in the tournament.
The Malaysia-Canada duel is expected to be a fast-paced, attacking encounter with both the teams heavily relying on their goal scoring abilities to come out winners.
Both Malaysia and Canada have scored heavily in the pool stages. While Malaysians have scored 17 goals, the Canadians have pumped in 15 goals.
In the likes of captain Scott Tupper, Mark Pearson, Adam Froese, Gordon Johnston, Iain Smythe, Taylor Curran, Canadians have got plenty of experience in its force. It will be a real test for the Malaysian defence today.
The Malaysian too would be relying on Sukri Mutalib, Tengku Tajuddin, Faizal Saari, Razie Rahim and Marhan Jalil who have more than a decade of experience and hold more than 200+ caps under their belt to continue their good work.
Assessing his team’s performance so far whilst also looking towards the meeting against Malaysia, Canada’s John Smythe said:
“We want to walk away with a win tonight, but it will be more easier said than done against a skillful Malaysian side. Malaysia are a strong and experienced team and we will have to be at our best to get a result. However, we are full of confidence and looking forward to the challenge.”
With the iconic Bukit Jalil Hockey Stadium expected to be packed to its full capacity, there will also be tremendous pressure on the Malaysian team.
Today’s action will see Italy and Austria battle for the bronze at 17:45 hrs and then Canada and Malaysia will play for the title, at 20:00 hrs.