|July 29th, 2012|
|5||Pool A||7:00pm||GBR - JPN||4 - 0 (4 - 0)||Final|
Inspired by a partisan local crowd, hosts Great Britain powered into a 4-0 half-time lead, one which they ultimately did not need to add to further to enjoy a comfortable opening win. Using their physical superiority, they out-muscled the Japanese in midfield and affected a string of turnovers in great areas and were ultimately too strong in each facet of play on a day when Scottish woman Emily Maguire made her 100th appearance.
Georgie Twigg fired the warning shot early on when she had a high shot just tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Sayiko Asano. Alex Danson broke the deadlock when she capitalised on a ricocheting crash ball. She got an initial touch in the build-up before the ball bounced back to her mid-circle where she reacted brilliantly to control and apply a little reverse-stick dink over Asano.
One became two on 23 minutes when Hannah McLeod threaded a beautiful ball through to Sarah Thomas who applied a late glance into the bottom right corner. GB were further into dreamland when Kate Walsh recovered a corner rebound and worked the ball around the circle via Twigg to Walton. Her lift over Asano’s shoulder was delightfully neat, 3-0.
Helen Richardson, then, created the fourth in the 28th minute, providing a sweet ball through for Danson and she poached her second of the game and 52nd international strike.
The second half was played out at a much more sedate pace with Britain once again forcing most of the issue. Christa Cullen dinged the post with one of her drag-flicks while Chloe Rogers and Danson had the pick of the efforts from play but Asano did well on both occasions to narrow the angle and keep the chances under control.
GB did, though, have cause for concern when Walsh took an errant stick to the face, drawing blood and requiring her exit from the game with four minutes remaining. Richardson was also carried off, taking a raised ball to her left knee.
Emily MAGUIRE (GBR) on playing her 100th match: "It's just an incredible feeling. To be honest it was going to be a special moment for me anyway, but to just have timed it perfectly at the Olympics is just incredible."
On the home support: "It's absolutely amazing, I'm not even sure that there are words to describe it. I mean, that crowd, they really are the twelth man (player) for us on the pitch. It just gives you that little bit extra when you think, 'oh I'm really spent here, I can't quite make it'. You do it for every single person who has come to watch, you do it for your teammates, and you want to do it for the crowd as well."
Sayiko ASANO (JPN) On her personal performance: "I found it very hard to be four goals against in the first half, we were overwhelmed by the spectators. After the first half we really felt like we had to defend better and the second half went better for me, but we prefer to focus on the team performance rather than personal perfomance.
"We need to get our minds set before the next game and start fresh. Although the Netherlands are a strong team, if you let that overtake your mind, you have already lost. We will go into the next game like we have nothing to lose."