Asian Games gold medallists India are aware of the threat posed in Wednesday's quarterfinal contest by Malaysia, who will draw confidence for the 3-2 victory in the last encounter between them during the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh two months ago.

Starting with unimpressive wins over France and Poland, the misfiring Indians were held to a 2-2 draw by sub-continental rivals Pakistan before being at the receiving end of a 2-6 drubbing at the hands of World champions Australia in the last league match yesterday.

Australia stamped their authority over India with two early goals, leaving India with plenty of work to do in deep defence.

Having already qualified for the Rio Olympics by virtue of their Asian Games gold medal, India came into the tournament with long-term perspective in mind. Giving a good show despite the presence of several youngsters in the squad is one of the targets set by van Ass, who took over as India's coach just a few months ago.

Australia, who last year completed a hat-trick of three consecutive World Cup victories, duly took their appointed position atop the Pool A standings with the maximum 12 points from four outings, while India finished second with seven points. Pakistan and France were the other two teams to make the quarterfinals from this pool.

But the quarterfinal lineup was not known until the last minute of the Belgium-Ireland fixture last evening, which Belgium won 2-1.

Belgium’s match-winner came 25 seconds before the hooter, and that too when Ireland threw caution to the wind by taking off the goalkeeper to put in an additional strikers on the turf.

Belgium finished with 10 points by virtue of that last-minute goal, followed by Great Britain on eight points and Malaysia on six. France ended with four points. The Irish went out looking for a victory that would have lifted to the third spot.

Losing or drawing against Belgium would not have changed the placing for Ireland, hence they made the desperate gamble in the final stages. Had the Irish not conceded the last goal, this match would have ended in a draw and Belgium would have slipped to the second spot with Britain securing the top slot on basis of a superior goal difference.

Quarterfinal lineup: Australia vs Ireland; India vs Malaysia; Pakistan vs Great Britain; Belgium vs France.

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