KUALA LUMPUR: Spain went on a scoring spree to humiliate hosts Malaysia 7-2 in their final group match in the Champions Trophy at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
The loss was Malaysia's biggest in the tournament, and the worst for national coach Sarjit Singh since he took charge in February.
Spain, who also whipped Malaysia 7-1 in an Olympic qualifier in 2000, exposed Malaysias defensive frailties with four goals in a six-minute spell in the first half.
David Alegre opened the floodgates for the world fourth ranked team in the 20th minute from the top D. Three minutes later Victor Sojo made it 2-0.
Eduard Tubau added two more goals in the 25th and 26th minutes.
The hosts made a brief comeback early in the second half, scoring through Chua Boon Huat (39th) and S. Selvaraju (42nd).
But the Spaniards regained control, adding three more through Alegre (45th), Xavier Ribas (47th) and Eduard Arbos (61st) to complete one of the most one-sided matches seen at this tournament.
Malaysia completed their round robin matches with just one point in seven matches.
They will face Pakistan, whom they drew 2-2 in the preliminary rounds, in the seventh place playoff today at 12.35pm.
Sarjit admitted that the loss was a sad way to end the group campaign.
The players looked tired and three of them were injured defender Baljit (Singh), midfielder Kelvinder (Singh) and forward Ismail (Abu).
Two other players Mohd Razie (Abdul Rahim) and Hafifihafiz (Hanafi) had also gone to Korat for the SEA Games, said Sarjit.
In any tournament, teams will get one bad match and this was it for us.
From the match we can see a lot of weaknesses that we need to rectify. We still have a long way to go to match the big teams.
Spain coach Maurits Hendriks was sympathetic the Malaysians, noting that the hosts were unlucky not to get more points in their earlier games despite giving their rivals a stiff challenge.
Malaysia showed that they are dangerous on the fast breaks ... if you give them the opportunity they can score, said Hendriks.
Olympic champions Australia qualified for the final by whipping world champions Germany 5-0 yesterday.
The two teams will meet in the decider today as previously unbeaten Germany were already assured of a place in the final as the table toppers with 16 points.
Australia, who scored through Rusell Ford (23rd), Travis Brooks (25th), David Guest (40th), Liam De Young (51st) and Luke Doerner (64th), garnered 13 points to edge out South Korea, who could only draw 2-2 with Britain.
Another final contender, Holland hammered Pakistan 4-1 to finish third ahead of the Koreans on a better goal difference.