Azlan Shah Cup 2019: India vs Poland preview, prediction, telecast, date, start time and where to watch online
The hosts themselves have yet to win the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, and no side would be more disappointed than the Malaysians at having missed out on a golden chance to make it to Saturday's final.
Coach Roelant Oltmans who decided to move from Pakistan to Malaysia late last year has failed to make any significant impact since taking over - and the Asian Games silver-medalists crashed to a 1-2 defeat against a lower-ranked South Korean side, who thus earned the right to play India in the gold-medal match.
The Indians benefited from a Mandeep Singh hattrick which helped the former title-holders thrash Canada by a 7-3 margin, with young Vivek Prasad and Nilakanta Sharma also adding their names onto the scoresheet.
Varun Kumar and Amit Rohidas converted one PC each against Paul Bundy's side, and both drag-flickers would like nothing better than to fine-tune their flicks in the inconsequential tie against Poland, as short corners could play a vital role in the summit clash.
The Poles, who are the lowest-ranked team (WR #21), evidently had little time to prepare for the event as they replaced South Africa at the eleventh hour and have yet to earn a point - but the Azlan Shah Cup debutants can boast of some memorable moments on the world stage, while at their peak, in the 1980s.
At the 1986 World Cup in London, Poland caused a shock upset by defeating India 1-0 and were eventually placed eighth in the tournament, while the Indians ended up with an ignominious last-place finish in the twelve-nation event.
India last won gold at an Olympic event back in 1980 - but, quite incredibly, were held to a 2-2 draw by Poland in a pool game of the same tournament at Moscow.
More recently, however, the Indians have had the upper hand - under the tutelage of Paul van Ass, in 2015, the Indians romped home to a 3-0 win against the Poles during the HWL Semifinals at Antwerp - and will look to reassert their supremacy over Karol Sniezek's team on Friday.
The Poles have conceded 15 goals thus far and have scored just three - two of which came against the Koreans. Shin Seok-Kyo's boys were given quite a scare by the minnows who led 2 -1 until the 50th minute but finally succumbed by a 2-3 margin.
Indian hockey fans can look forward to a genuine goal fest against Poland who finished last in the 2017 edition of the EuroHockey Nations Championship and will play in the lower-rung EuroHockey Championship II later this year.
Here is how you can catch all the action
Event: Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019
Venue: Ipoh, Malaysia
Date: 29 March 2019
Time: 1:35 pm Indian Standard Time (IST)
Telecast: No telecast in India
Live Streaming: Details awaited
Live Updates: Sportskeeda
With a place in the final guaranteed, Manpreet and co. will look to treat spectators to the uniquely subcontinental brand of fast and free-flowing hockey which the Indians best display when under no pressure whatsoever.
Score Prediction: India 8 - Poland 0