|August 4th, 2012|
|21||Pool A||1:45pm||JPN - BEL||1 - 1 (0 - 1)||Final|
Japan v. Belgium 1-1 (half-time: 0-1)
With both teams well out of the playoff picture, it was a battle for pride in today’s Belgium vs. Japan match. In the end both teams could hold their heads a little higher after they played to a 1-1 draw in an entertaining and competitive battle that had the intensity of a game with the semi’s on the line.
Things got off to a slow start on both ends, but about mid-half Belgium picked things up a notch and were rewarded with a slew of chances, including a shot that dinged off the post on a penalty corner and a chance that had to be saved on the line by Japanese defenseman Rika Komazawa.
Ultimately, it was a penalty stroke from Jill Boon with two minutes left in the half that broke the scoring silence. Japan asked for a video referral on the call, but after review, it was denied and Boon calmly stepped up to the mark and fired the stroke in.
Belgium continued to cling to its slim lead through the second half, doing their best to fend off the speedy Japanese counterattack and they almost pulled it off until Yukari Yamamoto scored after the dove to reach a rebound, tying the game at one. Japan had a chance in the last minute to go for the win when a penalty corner was awarded, but the last minute effort went harmlessly wide and the two teams each came away with a point.
The draw leaves the bottom half of Pool A wide open as Korea, Japan and Belgium could all finish as high as seventh or as low as 12th. Korea currently has three points, Belgium sits with two point after two draws and Japan has one point. Monday’s results will determine who gets plugged into which placement game.
On how the team played today:
"I'm happy, but disappointed at the same time. We gave everything we could, but we just didn't play to our best. Japan play a very different game to us."
Rika KOMAZAWA (JPN)
On the team's and her own performance:
"I felt that today was the best performance (of the tournament). I felt that I put in a good performance. As a team we concentrated and put bodies forward."
On the next match against China:
"We know that they are a strong team. We will focus more on defence than attack, but we will try to put in more short passes and to counter (attack)."