London, Aug 7 (IANS) China failed to reach the women’s hockey semifinals at the London Olympics after losing to Japan 0-1 in the last round of group matches.
China collected seven points from two vicories, one draw and two losses in the round-and-robin phase to finish third in pool A. Only the top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals.
It was China’s first loss to Japan in a major tournament.
“We’d never defeated China in official games. We had only beaten them in some friendlies,” Japanese coach Yuji Nagai said. “I’m very happy with the results.”
Rika Komazawa scored from a scramble in the front of the Chinese goal in the second half.
“Japan were lucky to score from a goalmouth melee. But It’s not an excuse, we didn’t play our normal game,” said Chinese coach Gao Lihua.
The result paved the way for the Netherlands and Britain ro make the semifinals regardless of the outcome of their last group matches.
China needed a victory to force Britain to draw with the Netherlands, while a five-goal margin would have left the host nation requiring a win against the defending champions.
The Netherlands kept their unbeaten record by defeating Britain 2-1 late Monday night and Britain finished second with a 3-2 win-loss record.
In the other pool, Argentina drew 0-0 with Australia to finish atop ahead of New Zealand.
The three teams had the same record of 3-1-1, and Argentina took No.1 due to better goal difference while Australia finished third.