|FIH: A soggy start to the Men's Olympic Qualifier in Japan|
|Written by ehfnews|
Host Japan and South Africa win, one game postponed due to rain.
NOTE: THE SECOND HALF OF THE CHINA v. AUSTRIA GAME WILL BE PLAYED TOMORROW AT 12:00
South Africa 11, Brazil 1
Brazil made its debut at an FIH World Level event today at the Olympic Qualification Tournament against South Africa and it was less than a warm welcome as the top-seeded South Africans dominated the game with a 11-1 victory.
It took South Africa nearly 20 minutes to find a way past Brazilian goaltender Daniel Tatara, who had an excellent showing considering the sheer amount of time South Africa spent camped in front of his net. Lloyd Norris Jones scored the opening goal and the lead was quickly doubled when South Africa’s Andrew Cronje easily converted a penalty stroke.
Tatara kept the score respectable thanks to a few key saves on South African short corners, but there was little he could do late in the period to stop South Africa from building a 4-0 lead as Timothy Drummond and Justin Reid-Ross each scored unstoppable, picture perfect goals.
The second half started with a historic moment when Matheus Borges put in Brazil’s first-ever goal at an FIH World Level event with a well-executed penalty corner. The Brazilians were so excited about the goal that they left a major gap in their defense on the ensuing play, allowing Drummond to quickly restore the four goal lead with a simple goal.
The Drummond goal opened the flood gates for South Africa as Reid Ross followed up with two field goals coming less than a minute apart to complete the hat trick and make it 7-1. South Africa put in another three goals in the second half to complete the 11-1 win. REid-Ross paced all players with four goals in the win.
While the score may not be considered the best result for most teams, it was a respectable showing for 42nd-ranked Brazil against 13th-ranked South Africa in their first major FIH appearance. Brazil will look to close the gap a little further when it takes on Japan on Saturday. South Africa’s next match is against the Czech Republic.
Japan 6, Czech Republic 0
Host Japan followed in its women’s national team’s footsteps and earned a win on the first day of the Olympic Qualification Men’s Tournament with a 6-0 victory against the Czech Republic. Japan is the second seeded team at the event, coming in at #15 in the FIH World Ranking. The Czechs hold the #23 spot.
Hiroko Sakamoto had a hat trick in the win, and Katsuyoshi Nagasawa struck twice in the decisive victory.
Nagasawa opened the scoring four minutes into action with the first of his two penalty corner goals. His second came nearly 20 minutes later to give Japan a 2-0 lead. Sakamoto promptly followed up at the 26-minute mark with the first field goal of the game to make it a 3-0 lead before the half.
Sakamoto scored the first goal of the second half five minutes into action to set the tone and thwart any hopes of the Czechs had for a comeback. With the game well in hand, the Japanese had a bit of lull on offense and were silent until Kei Kawakami put in his first marker of the game in the 55th minute. Sakamoto brought the final score to 6-0 with a penalty corner late in regulation.
Japan will take on Austria on Saturday, while the Czechs will look to rebound against top-seeded South Africa.
China – Austria
The opening day of the men’s FIH Olympic Qualification Tournament was a far cry from the women’s opening day, which has sunny skies and goals galore. Instead, the men played under a steady drizzle. The early game of the day, China vs. Austria, had to be suspended at halftime due to the rain. China held the 1-0 lead at the half when the game was halted. The teams will play the second half tomorrow at 12:00.
Photograph: Host Japan in their opening game (FIH (c))