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Japan hold mighty Germany in FIH Women's Olympic Qualifier

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NewsDrum Desk
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Ranchi, Jan 14 (PTI) A resolute Japan played out of their skin to hold world no. 5 Germany to a 1-1 draw in their second Pool A match of the FIH Women's Olympic Qualifier here on Sunday.

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The Germans controlled the proceedings for a major part of the match, earning as many as 15 penalty corners, but failed to break Japan's defence led by goalkeeper Eika Nakamura.

Nakamura was brilliant under the goal as she came up with some brilliant saves to keep Germany at bay.

Lisa Nolte (30th minute) scored for Germany from a field effort, while Miyu Hasegawa (45th) equalised for Japan.

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The game was about Germany's relentless attacks and Japan's defending.

In the first quarter itself, Germany secured as many as four penalty corners but they were up against a determined Nakamura in front of Japan goal, as she did not put a foot wrong in the match, or else the scoreline could have been different.

In the 16th minute, Germany secured another penalty corner but Nakamura made a triple save to deny the opponents any inroads.

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By the end of half-time, Germany earned as many as 13 penalty corners but they failed to break Japan's defence.

Japan's coach Jude Menezes lauded his side's valiant defending display.

"We needed to defend well against a strong side like Germany and I am proud of the way the girls executed the plans. It was a superb effort from the defensive line," Menezes, a former India goalkeeper, said.

Despite the draw, Germany are atop Pool A with four points from two games, while Japan are in second place with similar points but have an inferior goal difference.

Japan will take on Chile in their final pool match on Tuesday, while Germany will be up against Czech Republic with the top two teams from the pool progressing to the semifinals. PTI SSC SSC AH AH

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