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ENGLAND TO TAKE ON AUSTRALIA IN FINAL

Australia and England stormed into the final of the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with easy wins at the Azlan Shah Stadium.

World number one Australia defeated reigning Olympic champions Argentina 3-1 in the final round robin match. They also went through the preliminary round unbeaten.

Later in the last preliminary round match, England and Malaysia battled for the other final berth and the English routed the Malaysians 7-2.

The Australians will fancy their chance of winning their 10th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

They are the most successful team in the tournament history. They have made 17 appearances in the series and this will be their 14th final.

Their title-winning years were in 1983, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

England on the other hand made the final in 1994 when they lifted their maiden title. Last year they qualified for the final under the Britain banner and again took home the title after defeating Australia 4-3.

 Thus, the world number seven will be looked upon to keep the Australian juggernaut at bay for yet another year.

England won their match against Malaysia with goals from the Mark Gleghorne off a 10th minute penalty corner and field goals from Ollie Willars and Barry Middleton in the 11th and 15th minutes respectively.

Barry was again on target in the 31st minute off another field goal while Sam Ward scored a brace in the in the 38th and 41st minutes.

Gleghorne ended Malaysia’s misery with a penalty stroke conversion in the 48th minute.

Tengku Tajuddin and Mohamed Marhan Jalil scored a consolation goal each in the 50th and 51st minutes respectively.

The England side have inflicted heavy defeats to the Malaysians before this. In the World Hockey League Semi Finals last year the English won 7-3. The other big defeat was in then 2014 Commonwealth Games where the English won 8-0.

It was Malaysia’s second heavy defeat in the tournament. On Wednesday they lost 1-5 to India.

Expectations of a Malaysia win was high from the packed stadium. But they never raised their game and was rather a subdued side.

The Malaysians had plenty of chances and even five penalty corners in the first half to keep pace with the English. But nothing seemed to go their way.

Going by past records the Malaysians had an uphill task against the English side.

In the last 10 meetings between the two teams, the Malaysians managed just two wins. The first was in the 2003 Champions Challenge (4-1) and the other at 2002 KL World Cup (2-1).

The Malaysians will play world number two Argentina for third place while India and Ireland will battle for fifth position.

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