[img_assist|nid=5269|title=Goal|desc=Japan celebrate their winning strike vs China – hockeyimages.co.uk|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=146]LONDON, August 6 – Japan have defeated Beijing Olympic silver medallists China 1-0, a result which ensures Great Britain a women’s hockey Olympic Games semi-final place ahead of their clash with the Netherlands at 7pm tonight.
Rika Komazawa scrambled in the second half goal and the Riverbank Arena cheered almost as loudly as when GB men drew level with Australia the previous evening.
Sakiyo Asano also made a string of fine saves in the Japanese goal against a largely unadventurous China attack.
Japan skipper Yukari Yamamoto, who’s penalty corner was rebounded in by Komazawa in the 54th minute, said the crowd had helped Japan to their first ever victory over China in a major tournament.
“We had a lot of supporters today. That helped us improve our performance in both attack and defence,” Yamamoto said.
China have now failed to make the semi-finals in London after winning a medal at home in Beijing. Coach Kim Sangryul said: “Four years ago these players were different. Why China is not prepared for things four years later, maybe it’s the coach’s programme, maybe it’s a developmental problem. There are different reasons.
“After the Olmpic Games Chinese hockey needs developmental programs. I can suggest many things, perhaps in a report but not here,” Kim said.