MAX CALDAS (pic) coaches the Holland team but he will be the last one to throw caution to the wind in the ongoing World Cup.
Caldas is confident that his team will do well but did not want to take any team in Group D for granted, including Malaysia.
“My team are in good condition and are ready to play their best hockey in the World Cup,” said the 45-year-old.
“People say that we are in group of death with Germany, Pakistan and Malaysia. I do not agree, to me all the other teams (in other groups) will be equally tough.
“I believe this year’s World Cup will be the closest ever in the history of the tournament.”
On their opening match against Malaysia at the Kalinga Stadium today, Caldas said he has respect for Malaysia.
“Malaysia are a good team and they also have an experienced coach (Roelant Oltmans). But we are physically and mentally ready to take them on,” said Caldas.
“We’re not too worried that Malaysia have good penalty corner experts (like Muhd Razie Abdul Rahim and Faizal Saari). I’m more concerned with my team’s performance and results,” said the Argentina-born Caldas.
On the four days rest for each team in the group matches, Caldas gave his thumbs up.
“I played in 2002 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, which also had 16 teams divided into two groups and each had to play nine matches in 14 days. It was really tiring for the players,” he said.
“This time, they’ll have time to recover for their next match.”
Malaysia have played Holland 33 times and won thrice, drew twice and lost 28 times.
In the World Cup, Malaysia have played Holland four times and won only once at the 1975 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
That year, Poon Fook Loke and N. Sri Shanmuganathan scored for Malaysia.
Malaysia’s other wins over Holland was during the 1992 Test match in Ipoh, which Malaysia won 2-0, followed by a 2-0 win at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 1996 in Ipoh.