Hard to find positives to draw on after losing to Japan 2-1 in a match we should have won. There’s no doubt in my mind that we were the better team, yet constant poor decision making saw us throw this one away.
You can understand the loss to Argentina a bit more. It’s always going to be a battle against them and though it was very disappointing to lose we played pretty well in patches and could have come out with a point if we had tuned into the details a bit more or had we capitalized on one more of our chances.
Today was a different story. We came out playing well in the first 10-15 minutes and then we stopped playing. We kept turning the ball over unnecessarily, dribbling when we should be passing and basically just playing badly. It’s a struggle for all of us to understand how we can be so bad, and now we have 2 days to turn it around before we play Belgium in the quarter finals.
For my part, I was not so great today. After feeling positive about the first two games with my personal play this game brought me back to reality a bit. A few bad turn overs and losing my guy in defence a couple times did not help our cause. I felt good in the first half but as things progressed in the second half my mistake to good play ratio plummeted. I wasn’t terrible but I certainly made some terrible plays. A couple passes directly to the other team never makes you feel good.
Fitness was an issue against the speedy Japanese. They ran and ran and ran. I’m pretty sure they have guys on their team more interested in running than playing hockey. By the end of the game I could barely stand. I’d like to say I played all 70 minutes but I had a two minute sit down forced upon me by the ref when I tried to baseball a bouncing ball away and connected with one of their players instead. Oops.
It’s been a pretty low 10 hours since the game finished but after watching some video of the game and talking through a few things with some of the other guys on the team I’m feeling better. If we’re going to qualify for the London Olympics we’re going to have to do a lot better than we did today.