Japan – South Africa 3-3
After Chile’s very first win at a World Cup, South Africa provided the second surprise of the day. The team of national coach Giles Bonnet drew 3-3 against Japan, after the team faced a 3-0 deficit after 34 minutes.
The order before the game was clear for both teams. After the defeat in the opening game against Australia (2-0) and Belgium (4-1) respectively, a second defeat would probably already mean the premature end of the World Cup.
Japan didn’t let it grow and after nine minutes the team was already leading 2-0. In the third minute, captain Yuri Nagai set a good example by giving the ball the decisive tap at the far post. Six minutes later, Mai Toriyama tapped a cross from Miyu Suzuki behind keeper Phumelela Mbande at the near post. Shortly after the break, Emi Nishikori lifted the lead to 3-0 by shooting the ball into the South African goal in two instances from a penalty corner variant.
With the third goal, the game seemed decided and the three points for Japan. But South Africa thought otherwise. Four minutes later, Kristen Paton narrowed the deficit by putting the ball, which came up from a cross, into the goal.
It gave the South African squad momentum. Kayla de Waal was close to 3-2, but goalkeeper Akio Tanaka kept the ball out of the goal with a reflex. South Africa sensed that more was possible and their efforts were rewarded. In the last quarter, Tarryn Lombard scored twice from a penalty corner, leaving South Africa with a point after a game that already seemed lost.
Japan – South Africa 3-3 (2-0)
3. Yuri Nagai 1-0
9. Mai Toriyama 2-0
34. Emi Nishikori 3-0 (sc)
38. Kristen Paton 3-1
55. Tarryn Lombard 3-2 (sc)
59. Tarryn Lombard 3-3 (sc)