The Deaflympics women’s soccer tournament kicked off at Yingfeng Sports Park in Taipei yesterday morning, with Great Britain beginning their pursuit for medals in Group B against the team with the shortest journey to the Games in the soccer tournament, Japan.
A good crowd of Japanese and British supporters greeted the players as they ran out onto a pitch that was slightly waterlogged on one side.
Britain soon began to take control of the encounter, with Camilla Willis causing the Japanese defense all sorts of problems on the right of Britain’s attack, linking well with fellow striker Danielle Evans.
Sure enough, it was a run down the right wing by Willis in the 12th minute that created the first goal. Her cross to the edge of the six-yard box was met by Evans, who buried past helpless keeper Aika Sato.
Willis continued to torment the Japanese defense, shooting wide from a break through the middle in the 16th minute. Japan’s off-side trap was picked apart by Britain’s midfield and Willis ran through the middle again three minutes later. This time Sato’s save ricocheted off the striker and into the net to put Britain firmly in charge.
Sato was in the thick of the action and a goal-kick struck straight at Evans should have led to the third, only for the striker to fire wide. Sato then went down injured after saving another close-range attempt from Evans, only to get back up and drop a cross that Willis just failed to poke into the net.
Given Britain’s domination of territory and possession, more goals seemed inevitable. Evans struck again in the 32nd minute, winning a tackle to squeeze the ball home after a good run through the middle of the defense.
A minute later it got worse for Japan when Willis intercepted a sloppy back-pass, rounded Sato and slotted the ball home.
Britain began to ease off with the cushion of a four-goal lead. They were made to pay in the 39th minute when a long free-kick from the left touchline was fumbled by keeper Carly Waters. In the ensuing melee Yumi Misono poked the ball into the net to make it 4-1 at halftime.
Britain’s domination of midfield and solid defense meant they could slow down and control the game in a much more uneventful second half, although there was time for both Willis and Evans to complete hat-tricks.
Willis took advantage of a poor kick by Sato that rebounded off a defender to sprint down the left and score from a tight angle in the 64th minute. Willis was substituted in the 84th minute to an ovation from the British fans.
In injury-time, her strike partner Evans caught the Japanese defense napping at a free-kick to sprint clear, round Sato’s despairing dive and fire the ball into the empty net to complete her hat-trick and the 6-1 victory.
In the other Group B match, Thailand became the second soccer team in the Games to let in double figures when they were trounced by Russia 20-0. Russia captain Nikolaevna Gagarina scored six, Valeryevna Sayfutdinova grabbed four, while Tatyana Bolshakova, Veronika Nazina and Irina Degtyareva each claimed a brace. The other goals were scored by Irina Melnikova, Maria Sayko, Anna Antonova and Yana Budyukina.
In Group A, which consists of only three teams, Denmark didn’t have a game, while the US made up for the men’s loss to Ireland on Friday with a 4-0 victory over Germany. Felicia Schroeder grabbed a brace, while Anna Smither and Liza Offreda also netted.
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