The USA men put up a spirited performance to record a (2-2) draw against Japan to qualify directly for the semi-finals as Pool B toppers in the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament here Monday.
The match between world no. 18 Japan and world no. 25 USA witnessed a hard-fought first two quarters but both the teams failed to break the deadlock till half-time.
Deegan Huisman (41st, 51st minutes) scored a brace for the Americans to give Japan a few nervous moments.
After Kenta Tanaka’s goal in the 45th minute, Japan were made to fight hard and finally managed to draw level a minute before the final hooter through a penalty corner conversion by Shuguru Hoshi.
The result means both teams earned a point each. The draw, however, enabled world No. 25 USA to take the top spot in Pool B ahead of Japan on goal difference.
USA Coach Rutger Wiese said he was very pleased with the performance.
“Our objective was to advance to the next round. We weren’t planning to qualify directly for the semi-finals. Very proud of the guys, they worked so hard. This is the team USA we like to see.”
USA, will now gear to play for the last-four round of the tournament, while Japan will have to play the cross-overs to make it to the semifinals.