(Photo: Grant Treeby)

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Belgium – Chile 4-2 (2-1halftime)

Belgium had a tougher-than-expected meeting against Chile today at the Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament but in the end made it through to the fifth-place game with a 4-2 victory. Belgium will meet Japan in the fifth-place game, while Chile will face India.

Belgium started out the game strong enough when Erica Coppey scored 11 minutes into action, but the team slowly started to fizzle as the match went on. Chile jumped on the opportunity and scored their second goal of the tournament when Josefa Villalabeitia put the equalizer penalty corner flick. Anne Sophie de Scheemaekere netted the go-ahead goal, also on a flick, to give the Belgians the slim advantage of at the break.

Belgium extended its lead to 3-1 to open the second half, but Chile proved to be an opponent that was tough to shake as six minutes later Chile took advantage of a Belgian miscue and pulled to within one thanks to an own goal. It wasn’t until Coppey struck in the 56th minute that Belgium could start to relax with the two-goal lead that lasted through the final buzzer.


Japan – India 4-0 (2-0 halftime)

Shiho Otsuka scored twice and paced Japan to a 4-0 win against India in the 5-8 placement game today. The win bumps Japan in the Saturday’s fifth-place game, while the Indian women will hope to avoid finishing last in the pack in the seventh-place game.

Japan played a solid and patient game of hockey, waiting for the best chances to work the ball deep into the Indian D for the easy goals. Ayaka Nishimura scored just two minutes into the game to set the tone. Otsuka followed up with a nearly mirror image goal to make it 2-0 at the break. Otsuka scored her second goal on the first trip down field of the second half to make it a commanding 3-0 lead. Yuri Nagai closed the scoring with 15 minutes left in the game with her point-blank goal.

Japan is working to finish as high as possible at this Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament to increase their chances of qualifying for the Hockey World Cup 2014. Today was a big step in the right direction. On the other end of the spectrum, India will likely need to rely on making it to the World Cup via their Continental qualification tournament.