Murakami strikes twice for Japan to take ninth
Korea – Germany 1-4 (half-time: 1-2)
Germany’s Lisa Hahn lifted her team to a seventh-place finish in this Olympics with a two-goal performance to power Germany past Korea, 4-1 Despite the silver-lining win today, seventh place still ties Germany’s lowest Olympic finish.
Hahn opened the scoring six minutes into action when veteran Natascha Keller set up a perfect play for Hahn who was waiting by the post for the 1-0 goal. Korea was quick to even things up, converting a penalty corner just two minutes later. Cheon Seul Ki fired in a rocket to the upper corner for the emphatic tying goal.
Again Hahn was there to put Germany back on top. With the goalkeeper faked and covering the wrong corner of the net, Hahn had plenty of time to flip in the go-ahead goal, again from her favorite spot by the post.
Fanne Rinne opened up the lead and gave Germany some breathing room with 15 minutes to go in the game with her penalty corner shot that bounced in off a Korean stick. It was clear after the goal, owning a 3-1 lead, that the Germans would go on to earn the win. Marie Maevers put the icing on the cake in the win with her diving effort that brought the final to 4-1
Korea’s eighth-place finish is on par with their last three Olympic appearances, where the nation has two ninth-place finishes and one seventh-place. The seventh-place finish is clearly below Germany’s expectations, but at least the Germans could send Keller off with a win should she decide to end her international career after these Games.
Japan – South Africa 2-1 OT (half-time: 0-1)
The first placement game of the London Olympic hockey tournament went the distance as it took a overtime to determine the ninth-place finisher. In the end Japan’s Ai Murakami calmly stepped up and scored the game-winning goal on a penalty stroke with 5:13 left in overtime to lift Japan to a ninth-place finish. Murakami scored both of Japan’s goals in the win.
It was the first time in Japan’s three Olympic appearances that they won the placement game. Japan now has the trio of 8-9-10 for Olympic finishes. South Africa ends its 2012 Olympics in 10th place, still not a bad showing for the country, which finished in 11th-place in Beijing
Japan used its trademark speed, but South Africa kept up with the pace and defended the Japanese strikes well. Ultimately, it was South Africa’s penalty corner that made the difference in the close game. Lisa Marie Deetlefs was by the post to deflect in a perfectly executed penalty corner 27 minutes into the game to give the South Africans the 1-0 advantage.
The goal was nearly enough to pull South Africa through to the win, but Japan turned things up a notch midway through the second half and was rewarded for its efforts when Murakami put in the equalizer on a penalty corner that bounced in off South African goalkeeper Mariette Rix.
Japan pushed for the go-ahead goal before the end of regulation, including a diving effort with six seconds left that just went wide, but the first placement game of the Olympic hockey tournament headed into overtime where Murakami played the role of hero, giving the Japanese a positive end to their London Games.