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Korea – Netherlands 0-2 (0-0 halftime)
For the second straight game, top-ranked and defending Olympic champion Netherlands struggled to live up to expectations as they had their hands full against eighth-ranked Korea. After some tense moments, the host was able to earn their first win in a 2-0 decision.
The Dutch had to settle for a tie against Japan yesterday, 1-1, and today they struggled again to get their offense firing as they were held scoreless for 42 minutes. Offensively, it was a tentative performance from both teams. The Koreans sputtered anywhere from 25 meters in, while the Dutch rarely found themselves in any danger to challenge for a goal.
Ultimately, a costly Korean turnover with 28 minutes left in the game turned the tide in favor of the hosts. A slow pass was easily intercepted, paving the way for Kim Lammers to put in the easy 1-0 goal , which saved the day for the Netherlands. Kelly Jonker added the insurance goal with just over a minute to go in the game when the Dutch countered after a missed Korean penalty corner for a textbook goal. The late marker brought the final to 2-0.
The battle for first place in Group A is wide open as Korea, Japan, and the Netherlands all have a chance to win the closely-contested group. The Dutch and Japan have four points, while Korea has three. Chile is the only team out contention with two losses in two outings. The Netherlands has the best draw of the trio, facing Chile on Sunday, while Korea and Japan will meet the same day.
Japan – Chile 6-0 (2-0 halftime)
Japan earned its fourth point at the Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final and handed Chile its second loss after a decisive 6-0 victory. The win keeps Japan in the hunt to win Group A with a close field of three teams that can finish atop the group.
Japan plays Korea in its final group game, while the other game will feature the Dutch against Chile. The Chileans are the only team out of the race for first place in the group.
It was an interesting contrast of styles on display as the disciplined and technical style of the Japanese met the athletic, free-flow of Chile. Despite the final score, Chile’s style worked quite well against the Japanese, but the difference was the experience of the Japan team.
Captain Rika Komazawa, a veteran with 228 caps, got Japan on the board just six minutes into the game when she easily stepped up and scored on the first penalty corner opportunity. Mazuki Arai took over the scoring duties for the rest of the half, putting in the 2-0 goal midway through the half and adding in a picture perfect, diving tip-in six minutes before the break to build a commanding 3-0 advantage.
Akane Shibata got things kicked off in the second half for Japan. She scored two goals less than two minutes apart to give Japan a huge 5-0 lead with 27 minutes left in regulation. Arai completed the hat trick and brought the final to 6-0 with a penalty corner goal to add the icing on the cake of her team’s first win of the event.
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