Field Hockey: Japan Wins Double Gold After Men’s Comeback Triumph

A day after the women’s triumph the men complete the double gold in field hockey at the 2018 Asian Games. The winner of the men’s tournament qualifies to the Olympics as the Asian representative. The tournament was held from August 20th to September 1st 2018.

Pool A was dominated by top seed India whom scored 76 goals in five matches and only let in three goals in a 5-3 victory over South Korea. Second place and the spot to the semi-final was between Japan and South Korea. Japan scored the first goal in the second period via Kazuma Murata though South Korea countered in the third thanks to Kim Jung-hoo. The fourth period saw a flurry of three goals in three minutes with Murata scoring two more for a hat trick, which gave Japan the 3-2 victory over South Korea.

Pool B belonged to the top two seeds, Malaysia and Pakistan as both nations made short work of their opponents. The two nations faced off each other in the fourth round of matches where they traded goals in the first period. The game remained a stalemate until the third and fourth periods where Pakistan scored three goals to win the game and group 4-1. Malaysia also advanced as the second best team.

The semi-finals were tight affairs. A last minute goal by Malaysia’s Muhammad Razie Abdul Rahim sent the game against India into a penalty shoot-out after ending in a 2-2 draw. A dramatic shoot-out ensued with multiple misses between the two teams, forcing the shoot-out to go to sudden death. In a 7-6 victory it was Malaysia whom advanced to the final. The other match between Pakistan and Japan was decided by a lone goal from Japan’s Shota Yamada in the second period which sent the nation to its first Asian Games final.

The final was one for the ages. Going into the final quarter Malaysia held a 4-2 lead over Japan. A fifth goal looked to have sealed the win and Malaysia’s first gold medal, but three quick goals tied things up 5-5. Malaysia would score from a penalty corner with less than two minutes remaining, but Japan was able to counter with a penalty corner goal of their own in the last 13 seconds, sending the match to a penalty shoot-out. Japan was able to win the shoot-out 3-1 and their first ever gold medal at the Asian Games. The bronze medal went to India whom defeated Pakistan 2-1.

This will be Japan’s first appearance at the Olympics since 1968. Since Japan will now be the Asian representative the host quota has been reallocated to the intercontinental play-off matches. Instead of six spots being offered there will now be seven. The other Asian teams will have a second chance at qualifying at said play-off matches.

Qualified Nations

Men’s Tournament
* Japan

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