Two quick goals by Japan in the first 10 minutes of their final pool game sunk South Africa’s hopes of achieving a win in Madrid’s 2006 Samsung Women’s Hockey World Cup today, the third goal from a penalty corner in the 29th minute adding insult to injury.
Japan’s win sees them with a chance to place in the 5-8 classifications, while the agony of SA’s fifth loss in a row will have taken it’s toll on the team’s mental wellbeing.
Japan’s Tomomi Komori scored a field goal in the third minute to open the match’s scoring following very poor defense from SA.
Keiko Miura took advantage of Japan’s intense pressure in the SA half to blast a low shot into the left corner six minutes later, Japan leading 2-0.
After their early lead, Japan was content to camp patiently on the centre line, with all the pressure on South Africa to run at them.
SA again demonstrated their difficulty in controlling the ball to their attack, with the Japanese defense having little work to do.
Tomomi Komori scored again at the close of the first half from a penalty corner, when she slid in front of goalie Caroline Jack, deflecting the ball high into the net.
South Africa were unable to make good possession and position count in the opening minutes of the final half, with the Japanese controlling the game through tight defense.
Despite a determined SA on attack and rarely in their own half, Japan continued to prevent them from settling on a scoring position.
Jen Wilson could not control a loose ball in Japan’s circle after 10 minutes, and Tarryn Bright’s flick at goal was cleared by goalkeeper Ikuko Okamura four minutes on.
In the end, Japan secured an easy win following good work from their defensive unit, and their ability to capitalise on scoring opportunities when presented.
SA now face the winner of the current match being played between India and China in the 7-16 play-offs, while a draw will see SA face India on Friday.
Japan – Tomomi Komori (Field Goal in 3rd min)
Japan – Keiko Miura (Penalty Corner in 9th min)
Japan – Tomomi Komori (Penalty Corner in 29th min)