The 2018 Hockey World Cup is well and truly underway and has witnessed some nerve-wracking matches already. Hosts India got off to a flier as they thrashed the South Africans 5-0. The other encounter in Pool C was played between Belgium and Canada which the former won 2-1. In Pool A, Argentina defeated Spain 4-3 in the most exciting match of the tournament thus far whereas New Zealand got the better of France and won 2-1.
The 4th day of the mega hockey extravaganza is already here and will witness Pool D teams in action. Pool D comprises Netherlands, Malaysia, Germany, and Pakistan – making it one of the most exciting pools to watch out for as there is not much separating the teams. The Max Caldas-coached side will lock horns with the Malaysians first.
The Men in Orange finished 3rd in the 6-nation Champions trophy at home in Breda in July 2018. They have lifted the coveted Hockey World Cup trophy thrice – in 1973, 1990, and 1998 respectively. The Netherlands also hosted the previous edition of the event in 2014 at Hague and ended up as the silver medalists after losing to Australia in the final.
The legendary drag-flicker Mink van der Weeden is also back in the side and will give a major boost to the side. Pruijser, Brinkman, and Jeroen Hertzbeger are the three other players the Malaysians will need to keep a close eye on. Netherlands' custodian Blaak will also be a tough nut to crack for the opposition.
On the other hand, the Malaysian National field hockey team or the 'Speedy Tigers' as they are nicknamed haven't done too badly in the recent past as well. The Roelant Oltmans-coached side finished as runners-up of the 2017 Men's Hockey Asia cup conducted in Bangladesh.
They also finished as the silver medalists at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. However, the previous result of the Malaysian team at the Hockey World Cup was disappointing as they grabbed the wooden spoon after finishing last at 12th place.
It has been a period of resurgence for the Speedy Tigers since the dreadful finish in 2014 and they seem like a much more formidable side now. The two brothers in the team – Faizal and Fitri Saari will be the two men to watch out for. Hasan Azuan, Tajuddin Tengku, and Nik Rozemi are also expected to cause a lot of problems for their opponents.
The Netherlands are the clear favourites in the match being the World number 4 but the Malaysians (World Number 12) also have capable players in their squad to pull off an upset. All in all – the first Pool D encounter promises to be an enthralling one. Here is all you need to know about the upcoming match between The Netherlands and Malaysia:
Event: Men's Hockey World Cup 2018
Venue: Bhubaneswar, India
Date: 1 December 2018
Time: 5:00 pm Indian Standard Time (IST)
India: Star Sports, Star Sports HD
UK: BT Sport
Australia: Fox Sports
New Zealand: Sky Sports (NZ)
South Africa: SuperSport
Live Streaming: Hotstar, FIH Official Youtube Channel
Live Updates: Sportskeeda
Follow Sportskeeda for all the latest Hockey World Cup Points table, schedule, stats & previews.Published 30 Nov 2018, 18:51 IST