India are set to face Malaysia in their fourth match of the 2014 Hockey World Cup at The Hague on Saturday. Malaysia is at the bottom of Pool A without any points, while India earned their solitary point against Spain.
Both teams are out of the race for the semifinals, and will be aiming not to finish at the bottom of their group. After throwing away the first two games against Belgium and England in the final few minutes, India managed to hold Spain to a 1-1 draw.
Indian coach Terry Walsh pointed out they have been unlucky in the tournament, after squandering early advantages against better ranked opponents. Walsh, though, insisted the team are aiming for a better result against Malaysia, after an improved performance against Spain.
"That's the beauty of the World Cup. Every match is different... teams don't play the same way. You plan one match at a time and see how it goes," said Walsh. "We want to win every match but we've been unlucky in some of them. So, getting a point off Spain was great... we want to improve on that.
"The performance of our team has improved significantly in their weak areas. The team is high on self confidence and is pepped up for the future challenges. We know that Malaysia is not an easy team but we are ready with our strategies to give tough challenge to our opponents."
India hold a big advantage over Malaysia in the head-to-head record as they have only lost 14 times in 105 meetings. In World Cups, India have defeated Malaysia thrice in four outings, with their only defeat coming in Kuala Lumpur at the 2002 World Cup.
India skipper Sardar Singh said the team have worked hard and improved as the tournament has progressed. He added the players are high on confidence and targeting full points against Malaysia at the GreenFields Stadium.
"We are continuously learning and improving with every game," Sardar Singh said. "We are well aware about our weakness and strengths. The team is continuously working hard to put up their best performance in every game. Our confidence is very high and we are certain to beat Malaysia to improve points tally."
When these two teams last met at the Asian Champions Trophy, India got the better of Malaysia in a closely-contested match. Malaysia's coach K. Dharmaraj said playing against India is always a tough task, but they will give their best to get the maximum result out of the tie.
"India have always been a good team and highly skilful. They have managed to gain one point and will be looking at us to get their first win," K. Dharmaraj said. "We too have targeted full points from this match... so it'll be interesting to see how things pan out."
Schedule of Play
South Korea vs Belgium (Women) Starts at 10:30 am CET, 2:00 pm IST
Spain vs Belgium (Men) Starts at 1:00 pm CET, 4:30 pm IST
India vs Malaysia (Men) Starts at 2:30 pm CET, 6:00 pm IST
England vs Australia (Men) Starts at 4:00 pm CET, 7:30 pm IST
Japan vs New Zealand (Women) Starts at 5:30 pm CET, 9:00 pm IST
Australia vs Netherlands (Women) Starts at 7:45 pm CET, 11:15 pm IST
Where to Watch Live
The first match, between South Korea and Belgium, is scheduled for a 10:30 am local time (2:00 pm IST) start, with India vs Malaysia match set for a 2:30 pm local time (6:00 pm IST) start. Live coverage in India is on Ten Sports, with the live streaming option HERE. Viewers in the US can catch the action on ESPN 3 or via the live streaming option HERE. The UK viewers can watch the matches on Sky Sports 3, while they can also catch the action live online HERE.