Asian Games champions Japan defeated USA 4-2 in a hard-fought match to finish third in the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament here Saturday.
World no. 18 Japan scored through Kazuma Murata (11th), Yoshiki Krishita (25th), Kenta Tanaka (60th and 60th) to emerge winners.
World no. 25 USA gave a good account of themselves with Aki Kaeppler converting two penalty corners to give Japan a tough fight.
It was a hard-fought encounter as there was hardly anything to differentiate between the two sides in terms of ball possession.
While Japan enjoyed 69.50 per cent of ball possession, the Americans were closely behind at 68.75 per cent.
However, in terms of experience it turned out to be a great outing for the Americans as they outplayed higher-ranked teams to finish on top of their pool.
Japan, meanwhile, approached the tournament as a preparation for next year’s Tokyo Olympics after having qualified for the quadrennial event as continental champions as well as hosts.
The FIH Series Finals offer two spots in the final round of Olympic qualifiers to be held later this year.
Hosts India and South Africa have already sealed the two spots by entering the final.
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