|May 3rd, 2012|
|14||Pool A||4:00pm||JPN - BLR||4 - 0 (2 - 0)||Final|
Japan 4, Belarus 0
Top-seeded Japan earned a place in Saturday’s final and will vie for the last women’s spot at the London Games after a straight-forward 4-0 win against Belarus.
The Japanese needed only a tie to secure their spot in the final, but got all three points after easily handling the fourth-seeded Belarusians. Japan’s Kaori Fujio opened the scoring just three minutes into action and Rika Komazawa doubled the lead midway through the half. The score could have been much worse as Japan dominated the first-half action.
Japan continued to control the game as Belarus floundered under the constant Japanese pressure. Japan captain Yukari Yamamoto scored on a penalty corner chance 20 minutes into the half to make it a 3-0 affair. The Japanese had about a dozen penalty corner chances in the game.
Fujio scored her second of the game to close the scoring with five minutes left in regulation to bring the final score to a convincing 4-0.
Japan entered the tournament as the big favorite, holding the #9 place in the FIH World Ranking, six spot ahead of the second-seeded Azerbaijan. But the Japanese, who finished fifth at the Champions Trophy earlier this year, have been hot and cold throughout the event, perhaps a byproduct of the pressure of being both the host and the favorite.
Nevertheless, the team convincingly earned a place in the final, and finished the round robin phase in first place, right on track to achieve their dream of making the 2012 Games.