KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 (Reuters) - Malaysia coach Norizan Bakar expects his team to be given the sternest of tests when they open their Asian Cup campaign with a Group C encounter against China on Tuesday.
Malaysia gained automatic entry into the Asian Cup as one of the four co-hosts, but are considered underdogs of a strong group that also includes Iran and Uzbekistan.
'The question for us is now is whether we are going to be outplayed by the good teams or are we going to match them,' Norizan told reporters on Monday.
'The players want to play against the good teams in Asia and this is the great chance to prove themselves.'
Norizan is also banking on a big turnout of Malaysian supporters at the Bukit Jalil Stadium to help encourage his players.
Malaysia were soundly beaten by Jamaica and the United Arab Emirates during their finals preparations for the Asian Cup, with their only warm-up victory a 6-1 triumph over lowly Cambodia.
Norizan is expected to spearhead his attack with striker Hairuddin Omar, who is relishing the opportunity of playing in a major international tournament.
'I've played against Chelsea and Brazil in friendly matches but this tournament is the biggest one for me,' he said.
Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia are the other hosts of the 16-nation tournament that culminates with the final in Jakarta on July 29.