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Japanese Women Claim Final Summer Olympics Spot by Winning Qualification Tournament on home soil in Kakamigahara

Japan wins the last ticket to the women's Olympic Hockey Tournament
Japan wins the last ticket to the women's Olympic Hockey Tournament
(Photo: FIH / Stanislas Brochier)

First Place: Japan 5, Azerbaijan 1

Japan will make its third consecutive appearance at the Olympic Games after winning the FIH Women’s Qualification Tournament in front of a sold out home crowd in Kakamigahara. The top-seeded Japanese routed second-seeded Azerbaijan, 5-1, in today’s final.

Akane Shibata had the game of her career today. She scored two sprawling goals to help Japan build a strong first half lead. Shibata had scored only once in the previous five games.

Japan took the lead eight minutes into the game when Rika Komazawa scored a clean short corner. Komazawa also scored twice in the win. Japan doubled the advantage midway through the half when Shibata got her stick on a short corner deflection that went up and over the shoulder of Viktoriya Shahbazova. Shibata followed up her first goal by making a big stretch on her second tally to open up a 3-0 lead.

The goals continued to roll. Tournament Top Scorer Kaori Fujio got in on the fun, storming down field and putting Japan ahead 4-0 with eight minutes left in the first half.

Azerbaijan chipped into the hefty lead to open the second half scoring. Khatira Aliyeva scored her fifth penalty corner goal of the tournament to give Azerbaijan a glimmer of hope. But it did little to slow the Japanese down as Komazawa put in her second marker to bring the final to a definitive 5-1.

After the game, there were tears on both sides of the pitch. The Japanese women have been under enormous pressure as the ninth-ranked team in the FIH World Ranking, host and tournament favorite and today they could finally enjoy accomplishing their London mission.

For Azerbaijan it is the second consecutive Olympic qualifier that they have finished in second place. They also narrowly missed Beijing after losing to Spain in 2008 at home in Baku. Azerbaijan has never played at the Olympic Games.

JAPAN TEAM ROSTER

Shirt Name Age Caps
1 Sakiyo  ASANO (GK) 24 50
2 Nagisa HAYASHI  25 54
3 Akemi KATO  41 375
4 Sachimi IWAO  36 247
5 Miyuki NAKAGAWA  25 183
6 Ai MURUKAMI  27 74
7 Shiho OTSUKA  22 39
8 Yukari  YAMAMOTO (C) 30 205
9 Aki MITSUHASHI  22 48
10 Rika KOMAZAWA  29 205
11 Kaori FUJIO  31 180
12 Akane SHIBATA  23 33
13 Chie AKUTSU  27 72
14 Keiko MANABE  25 67
15 Mika IIMURA  26 33
17 Masako SATO  24 38
18 Ryoko  OIE (GK) 23 1
21 Izuki TANAKA  20 16
Staff      
Coach YASUDA, ZENJIRO    
Assistant Coach    
Manager

NAGAI, YUJI

Article 1st Published at http://FIH.ch

 

 

London, 2012, Field Hockey, FIH, Summer Olympics, Kakamigahara

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