The big news on day three of the Women’s competition in Tokyo is that the USA’s thirteen-year unbeaten run at the Olympic games has finally come to an end at the hands of Hungary. The Europeans came from two goals down in the fourth quarter to seal a historic 10-9 victory in the first game of the day at the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre.
In the other game in Group B, China defeated Japan in the Asian local derby that saw China’s 25 years old, Jing Zhang, bag five goals.
In Group A, the Netherlands kickstarted their Olympic games with a well-deserved, closely fought 14-13 victory over Spain. In a nail-biting encounter, Simone Van der Kraats netted six times to lead her team to victory.
In the earlier game in the group, Canada at long last have their first victory of these games after trouncing South Africa 21-1.
Canada 21-1 South Africa (5-1, 4-1, 4-1, 8-1) – LIVESCORE
Canada: C. Vulpisi, J. Bekhazi 1, A. Crevier 2, E. Wright 1, M. Eggens 2, K. McKee 1, G. Sohi 4, E. Lemay-Lavoie 3, H. McKelvey 1, K. Christmas 2, P. Kindred 2, S. La Roche. Head Coach: D. Paradelo
South Africa: Y. Gerber, G. Moir 1, B. Motau, M. Sileno, A. Hallendorff, S. January, A. Vaughn, J. Wedderburn, C. Meecham, H. Miller, N. Macleod, M. Maartens. Head Coach: D. Mentoor
Extra Player Shots: Canada 5/8, South Africa 1/4. Penalty Shots: Canada 0/1, South Africa 0/1.
Canada finally got their first win of the tournament with ease against an inexperienced but spirited South African side. Gurpreet Sohi bagged four goals whilst Kyra Christmas netted three.
It was a game that David Paradelo’s side was certainly expected to win, and they did. They were dominant from start to finish, looking like they would score with every attack.
Canada had control from the start. 24-year-old left-hander, Kyra Christmas, grabbed the opening goal of the match before Canada’s captain, Monika Eggens doubled their lead after three minutes. Emma Wright scored a brilliant bouncing solo effort, but not before Georgia Moir netted for South Africa with a powerful shot from the perimeter. Shae La Roche then scored two in less than a minute; firstly from a well-placed lob, before Gurpreet Sohi drew the keeper on a two-on-one and gave La Roche the easiest goal she’ll ever score.
Canada continued to score with Axelle Crevier grabbing two goals. Crevier is the daughter of Marie-Claude Deslieres – a former player who represented Canada at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She is also in Tokyo as the referee who officiated ROC vs China on Monday and officiated the game between Japan and China today. Hayley McKelvey and Gurpreet Sohi scored further goals to make it 9-1 at half-time.
Monika Eggens added a tenth not long into the third quarter, and Elyse Lemay-Lavoie also got her name on the scoresheet. Hayley McKelvey could have added another from a 5m penalty but for the outstretched left-hand of Meghan Maartens – who has given a really strong account of herself at these games so far.
Lemay-Lavoie and Kindred Paul both netted two goals each to take Canada to 15. Christmas then scored her second from a tight-angle as Gurpreet Sohi then sealed her hat-trick. Kelly Mckee and Joelle Bekhazi then made it 21-1 to ensure all the outfield players for Canada scored during the game.
Canada will be relieved that they finally have points on the board and will have a four-day break before taking on the Netherlands. South Africa will have to win their last game against undefeated Australia if they stand any chance of progressing to the quarter-finals.
Canada’s final group game against the Netherlands will be crucial for quarter-final classifications. The USA may well finish second in Group B, meaning a victory in that game for either Canada or the Netherlands may be a poisoned chalice.
Netherlands 14-13 Spain (2-3, 3-2, 3-2, 6-6 ) – LIVESCORE
Netherlands: M. Megens 4, D. Genee, S. Van der Sloot 1, I. Wolves, N. Stomphorst, K-L. Joustra 1, V. Sevenich 1, M. Keuning, I. Koolhaas 1, S. Van de Kraats 6, B. Sleeking, D. Willemsz. Head Coach: A. Havenga
Spain: L. Ester, M. Bach, A. Espar 4, B. Oritz 1, R. Tarrago 1, I. Gonzalez, C. Espar, P. Pena 1, J. Forca 1, E. Ruiz 3, M. Garcia, P. Leiton 2. Head Coach: M. Oca
Extra Player Shots: Netherlands 8/11, Spain 4/9. Penalty Shots: Netherlands 1/1, Spain 0/0.
The Netherlands have defeated Spain in their second group-stage game. The game was tight in the pool and on the scoreboard, but the Dutch were well worth their victory and the two points. Simone Van der Kraats grabbed a double hat-trick whilst captain Maud Megens scored four.
Spain struggled throughout much of the game to assert themselves in attack and relied on Ruiz and Espar for inspiration. They did not play poorly, but they did not do enough to beat a well-drilled, gutsy Dutch side.
In the first quarter, the Dutch were clever and forced the Spanish to shoot under serious pressure – from wide positions with several blocks in the way. Despite this, Spain won the quarter by a single goal. The Netherlands took the lead thanks to an extra-player conversion from Dutch left-hander, Simone Van der Kraats. Under a lot of pressure, however, Anna Espar managed to get a shot past the block of Maud Megens and Debby Willemsz to equalize for La Furia Roja.
Megens, however, instantly restored her sides lead with a driven bounce shot that rocketed past Laura Ester Ramos between the Spanish sticks. Roser Tarrago eventually beat Willemsz to level the scores at 2-2. Bea Ortiz, then gave Spain the lead for the first time in the match just seconds before the end of the quarter as her shot, which was straight at the Dutch keeper and slipped through her hands.
Despite trailing by a goal, the Dutch had the better first quarter. They quickly re-established parity with Spain via a classy extra-play move that was finished off on the post by Kitty Joustra. They then took the lead again through their left-hander, Van der Kraats with another swift man-up. Maud Megens then scored a fine lob from the left-hand side to give the Netherlands a 5-3 lead.
Spain were on the back foot, but two fantastic shots from Anna Espar gave Spain much-needed goals that put them level at 5-5 at the end of the quarter. The Spanish were fortunate not to be behind at half-time, but when you have the quality that the elder of the two Espar’s has, you can never let your guard down.
Speaking of the quality that Spain possesses, Paula Leiton opened the scoring in the third quarter with an undefendable goal from the pit. But no sooner had Spain taken the lead were the Netherlands level – Maud Megens grabbed her third of the game with a powerful cross-cage shot from the left-hand side.
Ilse Koolhaas then gave the Netherlands a 7-6 lead with a central strike from 4m. The Netherlands were once again frustrating the Spanish with their defence, whilst putting them under pressure in the attack.
The Spanish seemed to start running out of ideas aside from feeding Paula Leiton in the pit, but defending was clean from the Dutch. Megens then scored her fourth of the game on an extra-player situation to make it 8-6 to the side in orange and white.
VAR then ruled out the chance for young Elena Ruiz to grab her first of the game, but she stayed resolute and scored her sides next goal on the post from a man-up. The Netherlands may have reinstated their two-goal lead, but for an excellent double save from Ester Ramos right on the buzzer at the end of the third period. It was tense going into the last quarter with the score at 8-7 to the Netherlands.
Spain seemed to find a new gear at the start of the fourth period. The experience of Pili Pena proved vital when she scored from a tight angle at the start of the last quarter before Elena Ruiz scored an unbelievable goal that hit the post and went in.
But Van der Kraats scored her own off the post in the next attack, drawing the game level at 9-9. She then found herself completely free at the back post and converted her fourth of the game to make it 10-9 to the Dutch.
The Dutch seemed to have ridden the Spanish storm and were awarded a penalty from Maica Garcia Godoy’s foul. Van der Kraats slot past Laura Ester for her fifth of the game.
Spain re-set and won a double man-up.Paula Leiton scored on the post her second of the game, but it was put in perspective by Vivian Sevenich’s outrageous no-look goal to make it 12-10.
Anna Espar and Judith Forca had temporarily drawn their team level, but the Spanish could not stop the form of Simone Van der Kraats – who scored her sixth of the game to give her side a 13-12 lead.
But with a minute to go, Ruiz fired a missile of a shot into the top right corner to bring her side level. The young superstar was slightly disappointing in the last game against Canada, but in this, a huge contest, she was proved that her debut against South Africa was not a fluke.
However, with twenty seconds to go, Sabrina Van der Sloot managed to find the back of the net with a nearside bounce that flew past Ester Ramos. It was no less than the dutch deserved – all game long they had attacked with silk and defended with steel.
For Spain and Miki Oca, this is a small setback as they are still top of Group A. They would have liked to keep up their 100% winning run, but will probably admit they were second best today. Spain’s final group game is against Australia on Sunday.
The Netherlands, on the other hand, will see this as a big victory against a top side. They face winless South Africa on Friday.
Hungary 10-9 USA (2-2, 3-3, 1-3, 4-1) – LIVESCORE
Hungary: D. Szilagyi 1, G. Szucs, G. Gurisatti, V. Valyi 2, R. Parkes 3, A. Illes 1, R. Keszthelyi 2, D. Leimeter, A. Gyongyossy 1, N. Rybanska, K. Garda, A. Magyari. Head Coach: Attila Biro
USA: A. Johnson, M. Musselman 3, M. Seidemann 1, R. Fattal 2, P. Hauschild, M. Steffens 1, S. Haralabidis, J. Neushul, A. Fischer, K. Gilchrist, M. Fischer 2, A. Williams. Head Coach: A. Krikorian
Extra Player Shots: Hungary 3/5, USA 4/11. Penalty Shots: Hungary 0/0, USA 0/0
Hungary pulled off the shock of the tournament so far by beating the tournament favourites, USA – ending their thirteen-year unbeaten streak at the Olympic games. In a statement victory from the Hungarians, they owe much to the outstanding performance of keeper, Alda Magyari and centre-forward, Rebecca Parkes.
In a tight game that saw some courageous defending, a last quarter onslaught sealed the points for the Hungarians. The USA may be slightly concerned by this defeat, and it proves that no side is unbeatable. Adam Krikorian, however, will point to many missed chances from his side that may have sealed the game.
The match started with relentless intensity. Hungary got the better start when New Zealand born, Rebecca Parkes, flicked the ball past Ashleigh Johnson to give her side a 1-0 lead. But Maddie Musselman equalized with an accurate shot into the top right-hand corner, before Maggie Steffens gave the USA the lead when she launched a low, skipping shot past Hungarian keeper, Alda Magyari.
The USA looked like they would score again as they gained momentum, but Aniko Gyongossy scored for the Hungarians at the end of the quarter when she cleverly redirected Rita Keszthelyi’s pass into the pit.
Hungary took a two-goal lead in the second quarter and frustrated the USA for much of the quarter. Vanda Valyi converted on the man up after Keszthelyi grabbed her first of the game. The Hungarian captain’s fake was enough to deceive Johnson in the American goal before firing home. However, two successive goals from Rachel Fattal tied proceedings at the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre.
Adam Krikorian’s side struggled to convert in their attacking phases, hitting the post, or Alda Magyari several times, but Makenzie Fischer’s rocketing bounce shot with three seconds left in the half cancelled out Anna Illes’s earlier goal to bring the USA on a 5-5 parity at half-time.
Musselman’s second goal into the third period gave the USA the lead for the first time in the game but Hungary held the USA at bay, thanks to a string of excellent saves from Magyari. But Magyari could not keep out Makenzie Fischer’s near post bouncing goal – cancelling out Dorottya Szilagyi’s goal from the left. After a period of sustained defence from the Americans, the USA just narrowly established a small lead. Musselman’s hat-trick from the left-hand side gave the USA a two-goal cushion by the end of the third period.
Hungary was not fazed being two goals down in the last quarter against the reigning champions. Parkes pulled on back as she got the better of Johnson again when the American keeper misjudged another ball into the pit, allowing Parkes to turn and slot the ball into an empty net. Johnson was again at fault as Valyi’s shot straight through the keeper’s hands tied the game at 8-8 from a tight angle on the right.
The vastly experienced American centre-forward, Melissa Seidemann, finally managed to beat Magyari in the Hungarian goal – who was having the game of her life. But the spirit of the Hungarians would not be broken as Keszthelyi converted her second of the game.
Then, after several missed chances from the Americans, Rebecca Parkes punished the USA when she was fed a ball into the pit that she finished with incredible style. You could see what it meant to her and her team. They knew they had caused a huge upset by beating one of the greatest female teams of all time.
The USA will have to pick themselves up to ensure they don’t lose two on the bounce against ROC on Friday, whilst Hungary know that they will go top of the group if they can beat Japan and China in their final two games.
China vs Japan (5-2, 4-3, 4-3, 3-3) – LIVESCORE
China: L.Peng, X. Wang 2, X. Mei 1, D. Xiong 2, G. Niu 1, Y. Zhai 2, Y. Lu, H. Wang 1, Z. Deng 1, D. Zhang, X. Chen 1, J. Zhang 5. Head Coach: Petar Porobic
Japan: R. Miura, Y. Arima 3, A. Inaba, E. Ura, K. Iwano 2, M. Koide 1, M. Hashida 2, Y. Niizawa 2, M. Yamamoto, K. Kawaguchi, M. Tokumoto, K. Kudo 2. Head Coach: Makhiro Motomiya
Extra Player Shots: China 6/9, Japan3/11. Penalty Shots: China 3/3, Japan 1/1.
Five goals from Jing Zhang inspired China to defeat local rivals, Japan. A poor first quarter really cost the hosts as they grew into the game with time, but China were too clinical in their extra-play situations and took the two points.
The win for China probably secures their place in the quarter-finals, unless Japan can get an unlikely victory against Hungary or ROC.
China took an early lead via a Xiong Dunhan backshot from the pit, but Japan got back level with a tame shot from Maiko Hashida that Chinese keeper Lin Peng saw late.
But China responded immediately through their leading goal scorer at the tournament, Guannan Hiu, after Japan switched off at the back post. China soon added a third from a 5m penalty given away by Kaho Iwano which was converted by Jing Zhang. Iwano, however, then made amends for giving away the penalty by launching a left-side shot past Peng in the Chinese goal. China converted two back-to-back goals at the end of the quarter from Huan Wang and Deng Zewen to give them a 5-2 lead after the first quarter.
Yumi Arima netted early in the second quarter from a penalty, before Kyoko Kudo’s driven shot from 7m made the score 5-4. Referee Viktor Salnichenko then adjudged Yumi Arima to have fouled Xinyan Wang for a penalty that Jing Zhang converted. Xinyan Wang rifled a shot into the top left corner to make it 7-4.
Arima got one back for Japan, but they then conceded two in a row to make it 9-5: the first when Japanese keeper, Rikako Miura, made a mess in coming to collect the ball in the pit that Xiao Chen put away before Xiong Dunhan scored a well-weighted lob from close range.
The game got away from Japan in the third period. Wang Xinyan added her second of the game for China with a great solo effort. She held off the defender with great strength before bouncing the ball at the near post just under the arm of Rikako Miura. Then Jing Zhang got her third of the game, with an extravagant helicopter shot to give her side a six-goal lead at 11-5.
Maiko Hashida then scored her second of the game, which was a wonder goal from a distance in an attempt to halt the Chinese advance. But China were clinical on their man-ups, and Zhang Jing converted from the right. Zhang then scored her fifth of the game from a 5m penalty to take the score to 13-6.
The host’s Japan, however, were perseverant and got two goals back. The first was a thunderous shot off the bar by Kaho Iwano, before Yuki Niizawa’s shot was put in China’s goal by their own player, Xiaohan Mei.
Yuik Niizawa’s speculative lob somehow evaded the grasp of China’s keeper, Lin Peng and the ball crept in, but Niizawa’s effort was cancelled out by Chinese goals from Mei and Zhai.
With the score at 16-9, Arima scored yet another from distance beating Peng again. Miku Koide then scored the last of the game for Japan to make the margin of defeat more respectable.
You felt that if Japan were to win a game and progress in this competition, they needed to win today. They will maybe look back on this game with regret on not taking important chances when it mattered.
As mentioned, Japan has two really difficult fixtures up next against Hungary and ROC. China’s last game in the group stage is against Hungary.