|August 6th, 2012|
|27||Pool A||1:45pm||JPN - CHN||1 - 0 (0 - 0)||Final|
Rika Komazawa’s scrambled effort 16 minutes from time ultimately handed Great Britain the second semi-final berth from Pool A, ending China’s hopes of reaching the final four. It was the only goal of a tight-knit, arm-wrestle in which defence was on top as the thronged Riverbank Arena became Japan fans for a day, hoping they could do GB a favour.
In the first period, Kaori Fujio was Japan’s creative spark, twice firing in testers for Zhang Yimeng to deal with while Fu Baorong led the Chinese charge. She won the only corner of the half, one that Ma Yibo saw blocked by Sakiyo Asano. Similarly, she denied Jiaojiao De with just two seconds to go in the half to keep the game in the balance at the break.
The early impressions from the second half were that the tie would open up as Fujio won her side’s first corner inside 20 seconds of the restart while Zhao Yudiao drew another stop from Asano. But Japan slowly ground the Chinese down, camping in the 25 for long periods. And they finally got their reward from their third corner of the game. The initial shot took two ricochets before deceiving Zhang and Komazawa was waiting on the back post to score. The crowd erupted and they managed to play out the closing phases without too many scares.
The win lifts them temporarily to fourth in the table but they await the results from Belgium and Korea’s game to determine which playoff game they will play in. For China, they end the group third and play again on Friday for either fifth or sixth.
Sakiyo ASANO (JPN)
On beating China: "Since we've been at this tournament, we have lost every game and this is the first one we've won. I am so, so pleased. I wanted to make sure I didn't let in any goals today."
On Japan's strategy: "We've played China several times before so we knew how they played so we knew what to do. We were expecting China to attack in the first half, but we knew as long as all the team are doing their job, we knew we were going to be OK."
Akemi KATO (JPN)
On their expectations coming into the match: "We have the same spirit as China. We really wanted to win like them. We wanted to win so much so that we didn't go home disheartened with only losses. We wanted to win at least one match."
On what contributed to their success: "We planned to go forward, to attack so that we won over their spirit. The Chinese are very good at dribbling the ball so we wanted to attack that. Our plan was to pass the ball back and forth between our players to keep possession. We are very pleased to have won. At first we felt overwhelmed by the British supporters in the stadium, but this time they were good for us. We are so happy."
On their whole experience here at the London Olympics: "We have enjoyed it, but we have found it difficult to score goals. This is our third time to qualify for the Olympics, but it has been difficult for us. We have been pleased with the British support. We are happy now we have won one match."
MA Yibo (CHN)
On the defeat: "There are always wins and losses. Unfortunately, we didn't take our chances today."
|August 06th, 2012 at 7:44 am||We're ready to go in the Japan vs China tie in Pool A; China need victory to keep their semi hopes alive|
|August 06th, 2012 at 7:44 am||Umpires for this one are E Eskina (RUS) and K Hudson (NZL); China to tip off|
|August 06th, 2012 at 7:49 am||Japan receiving lots of support from the stands; perhaps from GB fans hoping they get a favour from them! JPN 0 CHN 0, 5mins|
|August 06th, 2012 at 8:03 am||China shading the first quarter with Fu Baorong's drive drawing a top Asano save; JPN 0 CHN 0, 19mins|
|August 06th, 2012 at 8:16 am||It's a real arm-wrestle this one, neither side giving an inch in either circle, JPN 0 CHN 0, 31mins|
|August 06th, 2012 at 8:22 am||Half-time: Japan 0 China 0, lots of late drama as Fujio and Jiaojiao De almost nick a goal before the break|
|August 06th, 2012 at 8:32 am||Whirlwind return to the action, Japan see a corner saved while Zhao is denied at the far end, JPN 0 CHN 0, 38mins|
|August 06th, 2012 at 8:44 am||Japan camping in the Chinese 25 for the past few minutes, a second corner the best of their chances, JPN 0 CHN 0, 49mins|
|August 06th, 2012 at 8:49 am||The crowd erupts as Komazawa scrambles in for Japan from the third phase of a penalty corner, JPN 1 CHN 0, 54mins|
|August 06th, 2012 at 8:50 am||Current state of play means China need two goals or else Great Britain are through with the Netherlands, JPN 1 CHN 0, 55mins|
|August 06th, 2012 at 9:00 am||China struggling to create very much as time is running out on their semi-final hopes, Japan holding firm, JPN 1 CHN 0, 65mins|
|August 06th, 2012 at 9:02 am||China swap out Zhang Yimeng in favour on extra outfield player for one last throw of the dice, JPN 1 CHN 0, 67mins|
|August 06th, 2012 at 9:07 am||Final score: Japan 1 (Komazawa) China 0, first win of the campaign for Japan, ending China's semi-final hopes; GB through, too!|