Friday, November 13, 2009


China stands in the way of Malaysia and a place in the final of the World Cup Qualifiers at Invercargill.

Hosts New Zealand awaits the winner of the match between China and Malaysia, which will be played on Saturday. Ironically it will be the last match of the preliminary round.

As it stands, China need a draw while Malaysia has to win and get a second shot at the Black Sticks. Yesterday, Malaysia scrapped past Scotland 3-2 while the free scoring Kiwis hammered China into a 6-1 submission. In another match Austria defeated Wales 2-0.

Though China have beaten Malaysia in their last two meeting, New Zealand coach Shane McLeod and Scotland coach Russel Garcia have both tipped for Malaysia to defeat the Chinese and book a place in Sunday’s final.

“Given a choice I rather play China in the final, especially after our performance today,” said McLeod.

“Both Malaysia and New Zealand have played each other often and are aware of what needs to be done so it may prove a bit difficult to play Malaysia. But the little bit I have seen of Malaysia today, I believe they are capable of defeating the Chinese and I believe only one goal will separate the two teams.”

Garcia was more direct in his assessment of the crucial match.

“I will pick Malaysia to win the match simply because they are improving as the tournament progresses,” said Garcia.

“Both the teams struggled against us and what I noticed is that Malaysia play with more desire and are experienced but have the tendency to fade away in a game. Consistence is what they need if the want to play in the final.”

However China remain upbeat that they can make the date with New Zealand at the expense of Malaysia.

“We really did not expect the margin of defeat against the Kiwis. But that is over and we are focused on getting the result we need against Malaysia,” said China coach Zhuang Xiodong.

“Though we need a draw, we will not defend and allow Malaysia to dictate play. I believe we will do enough against Malaysia and look forward to a re-match against New Zealand on Sunday.”