IPOH (MALAYSIA): Great Britain defeated New Zealand 3-2 in their last league fixture, a result which made India's task easier for clinching a place in the final of the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament, here today.
New Zealander Kane Russell's penalty corner conversion in the 58th minute meant that Great Britain have a points tally of 10 and a goal difference of plus-three (goals for 12, goals against nine).
India have a plus-two goal difference (goals scored 10, goals against eight) ahead of the encounter with hosts Malaysia, who have lost three of their previous four matches after starting with a draw against Japan.
India need to score a two goal victory over Malaysia in the last league match, which will take them to 10 points and also provide a superior goal difference compared to Britain.
Even a one-goal victory for India can be enough to take them into the final, provided they score at least three goals, which will ensure they have an edge over Britain in the number of goals scored.
It is the one-goal advantage India had in number of goals scored in four outings that placed them in the second place in the round-robin league standings.
If India wins by just one goal -- and the score-line is either 1-0 or 2-1 -- it will leave India and Great Britain with exactly the same number of points, goal difference and goals scored. Since the head-to-head encounter between India and Great Britain was drawn, that cannot be used to settle the tie.
In such a case, a penalty shootout between India and Great Britain will be required to determine who advances to the final against Australia.
Australia, who play their last league fixture against Japan today, are virtually assured of a chance to defend their title. Australia have a plus-eight goal difference to back the 10 points already against their name. British coach Bobby Crutchley said he wanted his team to score more goals.
"I would have like to set India a tougher target by scoring more goals," said Crutchley.
"I'll now put on the Malaysia shirt and cheer for the Malaysian team in the last match," said Crutchley.
Great Britain opened the account with a penalty corner conversion by Sam Ward in the ninth minute, only to see New Zealand equalise through an open play strike by Dominic Newman in the 30th minute.
The Britons surged to a 3-1 lead after field goals by Phil Roper (39th minute) and Mark Gleghorne (49th).
New Zealand took off their goalkeeper to add an extra player upfront and managed to earn a penalty corner in the 58th minute that was converted by Russell.