Chile well-prepared for JWC opener against Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Chile endured a two-day journey, transiting through Sao Paulo and Dubai before landing at KLIA on Saturday.

Despite visible signs of fatigue, coach Matias Amoroso wasted no time as his team played their first warm-up match against the Kuala Lumpur team at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday ahead of the Junior World Cup in KL from Dec 5-16.

"We took two days to reach KL as we had to transit twice. However, it is worth the trip as we want to acclimatise and play as many matches as possible before we face Malaysia in the JWC opener on Dec 5," said Amoroso.

In Group A with Malaysia, Argentina, and Australia, Chile recognises the importance of winning their opening match against the hosts.

"It is winter back home right now. Although it rains in Malaysia, the humidity is a bit too high for us.

"I have watched videos of the Malaysia's matches in the recent Sultan of Johor Cup. They are fast on the break and regularly pump in the ball from the centre to score or win penalty corners."

Anticipating a tough match against Malaysia, Amoroso underlined the readiness of his players, despite their average age being 18 years old.

The Chilean team also comprise eight 16-year-olds and two 15-year-olds, with the highest cap at 10 for four players.

"We are expecting a tough match against Malaysia, but my players are ready to face the challenges, although the average age of our players is 18 years old," said Amoroso.

Chile and Malaysia were in the same group at the Bhubaneswar edition in 2021, where the latter won 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals.

"Yes! We will meet again after Bhubaneswar. Argentina are our main concern. They showed great flair and skill to win the Pan American qualifier. We also lost 7-0 against them.

"Malaysia and Australia are also good teams, and all the matches will be tough," Amoroso added.

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