A WOUNDED Malaysia will be out to make amends when they take on third seeds Denmark in the quarter-finals tomorrow.
And if they win, they will have to face the hot favourites and defending champions China in the semi-finals.
Malaysia had to deal with a tough draw yesterday after the hosts went down to a 2-3 defeat to Japan in the final Group B tie.
The defeat saw Malaysia losing an opportunity to be one of the four seeded teams in the quarter-finals.
If they had won, they would have met the seeded teams only in the semi-finals.
National singles chief coach Rashid Sidek chose to be optimistic of their chances against Denmark.
”It is not all over for us. It is better that we meet Denmark first than China,” said Rashid.
”The team is down and demoralised but this defeat (against Japan) today will only fuel the fire in the players to do well against Denmark,” he said.
Rashid said that Malaysia was in a similar situation in 1992 at Stadium Negara.
”The team lost 2-3 to South Korea in the group tie. The whole team was demoralised but they came back like a wounded tiger. They defeated Denmark 5-0 to set-up a meeting with China in the semi-finals,” he said.
“Then, we went on to beat the hot favourites China and Indonesia. And the rest was history.
”We are in the same situation. And if I am Denmark, I will be quite worried now because they better be ready for a great comeback from our players,” said Rashid.
Team captain Lee Chong Wei hoped that Malaysians would turn up to support them.
”This is the time that we need the fans to stand beside us in good and bad times,” said Chong Wei.
”I am disappointed with what some of the fans did to Zakry and Fairuzizuan. Yes, maybe, it was not their good day but booing and criticising us openly is not the way to do it,” said Chong Wei.
”As a team captain, I feel for my team-mates. No one in my team is playing to lose. They are here to give their best. It is part of the game to win or lose but I hope the fans will be more supportive,” he said.
On their chances against Denmark, Chong Wei said: “This is a make or break time for us. We will do our best to get the better of them. Our challenge is not over and we will give our best.”
Japan's chance to reach the semi-finals for the first time in the Thomas Cup Finals looks bright indeed after they were drawn to meet Germany.
If they make it, the darkhorses will take on the winner of the match between second seeds Indonesia and India.