|August 8th, 2012|
|31||9/10||8:30am||JPN - RSA||2 - 1 (0 - 1) AET||Final|
Japan – South Africa 2-1 OT (half-time: 0-1)
The first placement game of the London Olympic hockey tournament went the distance as it took a overtime to determine the ninth-place finisher. In the end Japan’s Ai Murakami calmly stepped up and scored the game-winning goal on a penalty stroke with 5:13 left in overtime to lift Japan to a ninth-place finish. Murakami scored both of Japan’s goals in the win.
It was the first time in Japan’s three Olympic appearances that they won the placement game. Japan now has the trio of 8-9-10 for Olympic finishes. South Africa ends its 2012 Olympics in 10th place, still not a bad showing for the country, which finished in 11th-place in Beijing
Japan used its trademark speed, but South Africa kept up with the pace and defended the Japanese strikes well. Ultimately, it was South Africa’s penalty corner that made the difference in the close game. Lisa Marie Deetlefs was by the post to deflect in a perfectly executed penalty corner 27 minutes into the game to give the South Africans the 1-0 advantage.
The goal was nearly enough to pull South Africa through to the win, but Japan turned things up a notch midway through the second half and was rewarded for its efforts when Murakami put in the equalizer on a penalty corner that bounced in off South African goalkeeper Mariette Rix.
Japan pushed for the go-ahead goal before the end of regulation, including a diving effort with six seconds left that just went wide, but the first placement game of the Olympic hockey tournament headed into overtime where Murakami played the role of hero, giving the Japanese a positive end to their London Games.
Ai MURAKAMI (JPN)
On her first goal:
"This was the last match in our Olympic Games. I was struggling in this match. I was trying hard to concentrate and make sure that we won this match."
On her penalty stroke which won the match for Japan in extra time:
"There was a lot of pressure to make us win or not. I couldn't hear the crowd. I did not notice the silence. I was concentrating and under pressure."
"I was very very happy. I noticed that when I made the goal my teammates were smiling at me."
Lenise MARAIS (RSA)On finishing in the top 10 after having to qualify twice to be a part of the tournament:
"I think we felt motivated in the fact that we had to prove ourselves twice and we came into the tournament ranked number 12. To finish top 10 for us has been good, we've always played for the last and second last position (11th/12th place) in all the Olympics that we've played in. To be in the top 10 in the world, that's really nice."
Jennifer WILSON (RSA)
On finishing 10th place:
"It's disheartening to finish like that, but I think we all can be pleased with 10th place, we finished above our ranking, we'll take that."
On whether the South African team would benefit from a centralised training programme:
"In a way we already have a centralised programme because the bulk of our team are playing in Holland and that's where our coach is based. It's a very different type of centralised programme, but in a way you can say that it is a round-about one that is happening already and it is growing and getting bigger and the girls are playing in the best league in the world. And those players that are in Belgium or are in England are able to get across there (to Netherlands) quite easily and it makes everything a lot more accessible."
"I think it shows that we're moving in the right direction. We've still got a lot of hard work to do. You can see when you come to a tournament of this magnitude that it's the small things that make the difference. But we're definitely moving in the right direction."
On her feelings when Japan equalised and the score was 1-1 after South Africa had been leading:
"Devastated. 1-0 is never enough of a cushion. If you score the one, you've got to push for the second and third otherwise you always leave them (the opponent) with the chance of coming back and that's what they did. That equaliser gave them (Japan) that bit more energy and motivation and it wasn't enough for us to hold onto, unfortunately."
|August 08th, 2012 at 2:45 am||Good morning hockey fans. This morning, Japan and South Africa end their 2012 Olympics in the 9th place game|
|August 08th, 2012 at 2:47 am||The game is underway and both teams have had a few good chances, but we're sitting at 0-0 after 15 minutes|
|August 08th, 2012 at 2:50 am||Penalty corner chance for Japan with 16 on the clock|
|August 08th, 2012 at 2:52 am||SA defends it well and the game stays scoreless|
|August 08th, 2012 at 2:59 am||SA first to get on the board! Takes 1-0 lead on a Deetlefs pc deflection by the post. Eight to go in the half|
|August 08th, 2012 at 3:09 am||South Africa takes the 1-0 lead into the break -- both teams are looking strong, but SA better on the pc|
|August 08th, 2012 at 3:19 am||While you're waiting for the half, check out the FIH website for a preview of today's semi-final games www.fih.ch|
|August 08th, 2012 at 3:20 am||We're back into action for the second half. SA has come out strong, but Japan's speed is always dangerous|
|August 08th, 2012 at 3:28 am||Not a lot of chances in this second half, but SA given the chance to double up with a pc chance|
|August 08th, 2012 at 3:31 am||Japan asks for a referral on the pc call and it is upheld, so SA doesn't get the pc chance. 10 minutes gone in the half|
|August 08th, 2012 at 3:39 am||Japan with two monster chances, but they can't finish the play are are still scoreless. 16 minutes to go.|
|August 08th, 2012 at 3:47 am||Japan starting to turn on the gas, but SA still holding their own and keeping Japan scoreless. 8 minutes left|
|August 08th, 2012 at 3:48 am||An just after that is typed, Japan puts in the equalizer on a pc chance Murakami the goal scorer|
|August 08th, 2012 at 3:56 am||First placement game of the 2012 Olympic tournament and first overtime. 1-1 after regulation.|
|August 08th, 2012 at 4:02 am||And we're underway for OT -- 7:30 to be played going each way, with a golden goal.|
|August 08th, 2012 at 4:04 am||Japan's Fujio takes a yellow two minutes into the overtime, but Japan is still the team doing the hunting right now|
|August 08th, 2012 at 4:08 am||Both teams have clearly turned it up a notch for the overtime -- lots of end-to-end action - 1 minute before the side change|
|August 08th, 2012 at 4:11 am||We've switched sides and have 7:30 to decide this game -- otherwise it's shootout time!|
|August 08th, 2012 at 4:22 am||Japan awarded a penalty stroke with five to go and Murakami easily scores the game winner! Japan takes ninth!|