From zero chance to quarter-finalists, Malaysia can almost smell the Olympic ticket

  • Hockey
  • Friday, 26 Jun 2015

ANTWERP: Malaysia made a quick turnaround from no-hopers to quarter-finalists in the World Hockey League Semi-Finals in Belgium.

And skipper Mohd Razie Rahim is proud of his men for defying the odds with two wins in as many matches in Group B.

“Let’s be honest, not many gave us a chance to win our first two Group B games,” he said.

“Guess what? If we win our next two matches (against Belgium and Britain), we could end up topping the group.

“Of course, we could end up losing the next two games. But, at least, we have achieved our target of reaching the quarter-finals.”

Malaysia started off with a 3-2 win over China and then beat Ireland 4-2.

Razie, who admitted that there’s still room for improvement, has also called on his team-mates to cut down on mistakes.

“We all make mistakes but let’s try to be more careful and not give away unnecessary penalty corners. If we can control the game, then the results will go our way,” he said.

“Yes, the teams we’ve beaten are ranked lower than us. But then Ireland held world No. 5 Britain to a draw.

“You can’t predict how a match will end up these days. Teams are all well prepared ... we must never underestimate any team.”

The 27-year-old Razie, who has 175 international caps, has never played in the Olympics, although he did feature in his first World Cup in The Hague last year.

And he’s hoping that Malaysia will be able to earn an automatic spot for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics with a top-three finish here.

“Our performances in the first two matches have given us greater confidence. The pressure is also a little less now. We are determined to win and make the cut for the Olympics,” he said.

Malaysia will wrap up their Group B fixture against Britain on Sunday. The quarter-finals will be on Wednesday.

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