Updated January 18th, 2024 at 19:37 IST

USA beat Japan 2-1 to enter final of Olympic Qualifier; earn Paris 2024 ticket

USA have booked their ticket to the Paris Olympics as the top three teams from this tournament will qualify for the quadrennial extravaganza to be held later this year.

USA women's hockey team | Image:HockeyIndia
Advertisement

The United States of America produced a brave performance to register a come-from-behind 2-1 win over former Asian Games champions Japan to enter the final of the FIH Women's Olympic Qualifier, thereby securing their berth in the Paris Olympics here on Thursday.

Japan took the lead through Amiru Shimada in the 38th minute before the Americans produced two late goals through Ashley Hoffman (52nd) and Abigail Tamer (55th), both from penalty corners, to come out winners.

Advertisement

USA have booked their ticket to the Paris Olympics as the top three teams from this tournament will qualify for the quadrennial extravaganza to be held later this year.

As suggested by their Indian coach Jude Menezes, Japan played attacking hockey from the onset.

Advertisement

Their ploy reaped rewards immediately as Japan bagged the first penalty corner of the match in the second minute, but wasted the opportunity.

The Americans too made some circle penetrations but the Japanese defence was up to the task to thwart any danger to their goal.

Advertisement

In the 11th minute, USA secured their first penalty corner but their effort was kept at bay by Japanese goalkeeper Eika Nakamura.

Japan continued their attacking game in the second quarter and grabbed their second penalty corner in the 17th minute but they shot wide.

Advertisement

Japan continued to press hard on the American defence and secured their second penalty corner in the 26th minute but wasted the chance as the deadlock continued at half-time.

The Japanese kept the pressure on the American defence after the cross-over and fetched another penalty corner in the 38th minute.

Advertisement

This time they were successful in converting the chance through Shimadu, who scored from a rebound after Kana Urata's slap hit was saved by American custodian Bing.

Trailing by a solitary goal, the Americans gave their all in the final quarter and exerted immense pressure on the Japanese defence, who seemed to have taken the game a bit lightly.

Advertisement

USA's plan worked wonders as they scored twice from as many penalty corners in a span of two minutes to turn the match on its head.

Japan conceded a penalty corner in the 52nd minute and Ashley Hoffman converted the chance with a powerful ground-flick to draw level.

Advertisement

Pepped by the equaliser, the Americans continued their attacking game and earned another penalty corner two minutes later and Tamer made no mistake while converting the chance to hand her side a 2-1 lead.

The Americans received another penalty corner just a minute from the final hooter with Japan withdrawing their goalkeeper for an extra field player, but failed to cash in on the chance.

Advertisement

Nevertheless, the lead was enough for the Americans, who are unbeaten in the tournament so far, to book their Paris ticket. 

Advertisement

Published January 18th, 2024 at 19:37 IST