The Australian Hockeyroos can confirm a third-place finish in Group B at the final match of the Rio Olympics group stage when they take on the lowly ranked Japan. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 8:30pm (AEST).
The Australians have had a very up and down tournament, but are still in a position where they can finish third in their group.
This is even more so the case now they get to take on Japan in their last match who are right down the bottom of the group and have never looked like challenging anyone apart from when they drew with the similarly hapless India.
Finishing third instead of fourth brings with it a massive advantage – finishing fourth leads straight to a certain match against the best team in the world – the Netherlands while finishing third means it will be either Germany or New Zealand.
While both the Germans and Kiwis are very strong teams in their own right, both pale in comparison to the Netherlands who have won three out of their four matches and drawn the other one.
Based on all that, it is hard to see Australia, who have been criticised heavily throughout the tournament, being in a position to defeat or even contend with the Netherlands.
In their group, they sit three points ahead of Argentina, but given they are playing India they should also be in for a big win. If that were to happen and Australia were to lose, then they would drop to fourth just highlighting the importance of this match.
Australia have for most of the Olympics to date struggled to put away their chances and it is something they must find a way to start doing, or they can forget about any chances of medalling or getting past the quarter-finals.
While there looked to be improvement against India, that must be taken with a grain of salt. Their 1-0 win against Argentina last time out, while unimpressive, was important and so the scoreline didn’t overly matter.
Still, they wasted a lot of opportunities and once again showed every other team in the tournament that they could be beaten.
Japan on the other hand, as mentioned have struggled badly. They have only had the solitary draw against India and at this point only sit fifth because of for-and-against.
They have lost their other three matches by a combined 11 goals, and it shows that not only is their defence not good enough, but their attack can’t match the let down and keep things even. To put it simply, they have been outclassed.
Australia should do this easily.
Australia 5 – Japan 0
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