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Late injuries mar fine GB win over Japan

[img_assist|nid=4488|title=Great to have you back|desc=Alex Danson celebrates a goal against Japan. She was injured in the London Prepares test event at Riverbank Arena in May, but is fully recovered – hockeyimages.co.uk|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=174]Late injuries to Kate Walsh and Helen Richardson were the only dark clouds for Great Britain who comprehensively outplayed Japan 4-0 in their Olympic Games hockey tournament opener on Sunday.

Walsh received an accidental stick to the jaw and was bleeding as she walked off the Riverside Arena. The GB skipper was taken to hospital for assessment, but no further information is yet available. Richardson was hit hard by a ball on the knee and was helped off, but she is expected to be fine.

Before those two blows quietened the crowd they had revelled in a decent game of hockey with all the goals coming in the first half. After taking a few minutes to settle down, GB took control with Alex Danson latching onto a bobble off a defender to finish neatly on the reverse in the seventh minute. 

The GB lead was doubled by Sarah Thomas who finished from in front off cross from near the left penalty corner spot from Hannah Macleod, in the 23rd minute.

The goals continued to flow with Sally Walton netting a lovely reverse-stick flick high into the net nine minutes before half time. The defender found herself way upfield in the aftermath of a penalty corner and when Georgie Twigg found her 5 metres out with the goal beckoning,Walton relished a rare chance to score.

“That took me back a few years.The important thing is the chances were created, the team played well and the goals were shared around.” Walton said.

Danson then added her second two minutes later from a neat pass straight towards the penalty spot from Helen Richardson again neatly finished.  

Coach Danny Kerry said he was pleased his side had maintained their structure and control and not got carried away with the first half lead, or the crowd. “It was a thorough and diligent performance in the first game and the first time in front of 16 thousand here. They just went about their business,” he said. 

[img_assist|nid=4487|title=Rule Britannia|desc=A GB fan in the crowd – hockeyimages.co.uk|link=node|align=left|width=220|height=146]”I thought we controlled the game really. We had good control which led to good penetration. We took our chances in the first half. In the second we hit the post [a Crista Cullen PC] and the goalie made a good save. It was all about not being gung-ho and not losing control.”

Germany 2 United States 1

In the final game of the opening day Germay defeated the United States 2-1. An early PC from captian Fanny Rinne (8 mins) and a 21st minute open-paly goal from Lisa Hahn gave Germany a 2-0 lead. But a 56th minute PC from US skipper Lauren Crandall made it interesting.

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