The Indian hockey team will meet Asian Games gold medallists, Japan, in the semi-final encounter of the ongoing FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar. India had already qualified for the semis and Japan defeated Poland by 6-2 goals on Wednesday in the cross-over to make their way into the semi-final.
After India topped Group A and made a direct entry into the semi-finals of the FIH Series Finals, the hosts of the Tokyo Olympics and Asiad champions Japan took a different route to set-up a crucial clash against the hosts on Friday (June 14). The world No. 18 team dominated the proceedings against Poland in the cross-over game yesterday to make their way into the top four round of the tournament.
In the other cross-over match, South Africa got the better of Russia by 2-1 goals to set up the semi-final clash against the USA which will be played on Friday as well. The USA had already qualified for the semi-finals by finishing at the top of the table in Group B.
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After going down by a goal in the first quarter, Japan scored through Shota Yamada (20th minute), Hirotaka Zendana (23rd), Kenta Tanaka (34th), Koji Yamasaki (36th, 60th) and Kenji Kitazato (47th) to win the game against the Polish side. Mikolaj Gumny (7th) and Mateusz Hulboj (26th) were the goal scorers for Poland as they failed to make it to the semi-finals despite taking an early lead in the cross-over match and a spirited show in the group stages of the tournament.
Source:: Daily times