China have qualified for the Hockey World Cup for the first time, thanks to favourable results at the ongoing Hero Asia Cup in Dhaka, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said on Sunday.
The defeat knocked Pakistan out of the final race and India will now play either Korea or Malaysia in the final.
Both teams came into the final less than 18 hours after having played their last Super 4s matches, hence some sloppy performances were expected due to fatigue, but both teams proved that notion wrong by playing attractive hockey which enthralled some 5,000 spectators. Ramandeep Singh opened the scoring for India in the first quarter when he flicked in a lovely pass from SV Sunil on the right flank into an unguarded goal as the keeper came forward to prevent the shot and paid the price. The Malaysian goalkeeper also joined the attack in the dying moments but they could not break the Indian defence and had to be content with the runners-up trophy - their best ever finish in this continental competition. However, Malaysia held on and created some chances of their own as the Indian defence stood tall to deny Malaysia of any real opportunities to score.
Muhammad Shahril Saabah raised Malaysia's hopes when he collected a cross outside the penalty box and scored in the 50th minute to reduce the deficit.
The Indians endured a nervous last 10 minutes as Malaysia went full throttle in search for an equaliser.
In the recent encounters between the two sides, India have had the upper hand over their traditional rivals, and the Manpreet Singh-led side would look to continue their stranglehold over the neighboring country. "We are enjoying [the moment], also it is Satbir Singh, one of our teammate's birthday today - and it's a sweet win to mark his birthday too". Yesterday the draw with a tough Korean team and today a good fight especially in the final quarter.