|October 31st, 2009|
|01||Round-Robin||11:30am||JPN - RUS||4 - 0 (1 - 0)||Final|
The opening game started at full speed, with both teams eager to warm up in the cool morning. Japan promptly took advantage of a Russian unforced error in midfield to set a quick counter-attack that found Kenta TANAKA at the top of the circle for the first goal of the competition in the 6th minute. The game then settled down; Japan tried to overwhelm their opposition with their superior speed, but could not surprise the very athletic and well organized Russian team.
Russian Captain Alexandre PLATONOV had a great opportunity to tie the game when he received the ball behind the Japanese defense, but his deflection was just over the crossbar. Even though Japan were temporarily reduced to ten players, Kenta TANAKA nearly increased the lead after a counter-attack that seemed harmless to start with, but found the Russian defense out of position. Japan had two other good opportunities in the closing minutes of the period but missed each time by inches.
Japan finally increased their lead in the 44th minute, when a ball crossed from the right was missed by a few players and reached Kazuhiro TSUBOUCHI unmarked on the far post. Russia did not give up easily, displaying some good collective organization and skills in tight space. They created chances but were consistently thwarted by Katsuya TAKASE in the Japanese goal.
Japan showed more realism at the other end and Kenta TANAKA scored his second goal of the day after pouncing on a ball loosely controlled by a Russian defender. He completed a hat-trick of field goals with 3 minutes to go in the match after a long run of more than fifty meters before crucifying Roman ROGOV in the Russian goal. With a four-goal cushion, Japan could control the end of the game to earn their first win of the competition.