Wednesday, 4 June 2014 | MYT 9:17 PM
Go for the kill, says Dharma
Mohd Razie Rahim got on the scoresheet for Malaysia with a brace against Belgium. - EPA
THE HAGUE: After two defeats, Malaysia intend to switch to an attacking mode when they face England in their third Group A match in the World Cup campaign on Thursday.
Malaysia lost 4-0 to defending champions Australia and 6-2 to Belgium, despite leading twice.
And national coach K. Dharmaraj agreed that they have no option but to attack England all out in search of their first three points.
“Of course, we will work on our defensive play ... but the team need to go on the attack and get goals. More than that, we need to play consistently for 70 minutes and not let out guards down,” he said.
“For two matches (against Australia and Belgium), we had a good first half but, in the end, we still lost.”
Maybe that has something to do with the Malaysian players being overawed by the reputation of their opponents.
Like Dharmaraj said, perhaps it’s time for the national players to “start thinking about winning and not worry too much about who our opponents are”.
“When we came here, we knew that Australia and Belgium were the teams to beat. But we also know that we have a good chance against the other three teams in our group – namely England, India and Spain,” said Dharmaraj.
“So, the time has come for us to prove that. We are not taking these teams for granted. We just have to stay focused on our game plan and carry it out. I keep telling the players that as long as they can improve and play their game, then we stand a chance against these teams.”
Malaysian skipper Azlan Misron agreed with Dharmaraj that attack is the best policy in the coming matches.
“Yes, our defensive play is good and we can hold our own. But we cannot last the pace against teams who are attack-minded like Australia and Belgium. They had speed on their side and were very fast on the break,” said Azlan.
“Now that we’ve experienced this kind of play, it’s time for us to turn the tables on teams who play that kind of hockey. We need to attack and keep the pressure on our opponents for 70 minutes.
“The players are all eager to get their first point. We will go in (against England) with a positive mind set.”
Dharmaraj, meanwhile, is pleased to see at least one player getting on the score sheet in the World Cup, with Mohd Razie Rahim scoring a brace against Belgium.
“It’s good that the team have scored in the World Cup ... that will boost the players’ confidence. It will also take away some of the pressure and I believe that the other players will now try harder to score as well,” said Dharmaraj.
“I think we can look forward to the coming matches with greater confidence ... but let’s not forget that England are ranked fourth in the world and should not be taken lightly.”