Japan’s goalball men on the march at Tokyo 2020
Date: August 27, 2021
The third day of pool play in goalball at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics saw Japan storm to the top of group A with two wins from two after a famous victory against Paralympic silver medallists the USA.
Japan earned the first mercy win of the men’s competition as they overcame the USA 11-1 with Yuto Sano scoring six times including three penalties.
Daryl Walker netted the USA’s only goal, as they failed to build on their impressive win over Brazil from Thursday (26 August), losing by double figures at the Paralympics for the first time since 2008.
Belgium became the second men’s side to make it two wins from two, after hosts Japan, as they earned a hard-fought 6-4 win over Turkey.
Brothers Bruno and Tom Vanhove shared four goals, with the latter netting an important equaliser shortly before half-time and he acknowledged their strong defensive opponents.
“It was a tight game and we only secured it at the end as Turkey has a very good defence so this win gives us confidence, having six points already.”
A stunning second half from Rio 2016 bronze medallists Brazil saw them deny Algeria a notable win in the final match of the day.
After trailing 4-1, eight unanswered goals including four from Josemarcio Souza, ensured Brazil rebounded from their defeat against the USA from Thursday.
China picked up their first points of the Paralympics as a dominant second half saw them run out comfortable 7-3 winners over Ukraine.
They only led 1-0 at the interval but a late flurry with three goals in the final thirty seconds including a brace for Changgui Cao gave them an impressive victory.
A stirring second-half fightback from Brazil saw them earn a point against China in the first draw of the women’s competition.
The 2019 Parapan American Games silver medallists were 3-0 down at the break but Ana Carolina Duarte and Victoria Amorim both scored twice with the latter insisting they never gave up hope.
“We always believed the whole time, despite the deficit that we could get a result and I’m really pleased as we have the potential to go far as a team,” Duarte said.
Despite picking up just one point from their two games so far, Duarte believes they are in a strong position.
“We knew the games against the USA and Japan would be tough but we are still confident as it’s still possible to make the quarter-finals.”
Australia suffered another defeat, this time losing 6-0 to China, but debutant Brodie Smith believes the experience of competing on the biggest stage will prove invaluable for the team:
“Australians are nothing but resilient and these two losses will not affect our spirit as we’ll just come back harder and stronger.”
First coming to prominence when she captained the Belles to the Under 19 World Championship title, the 23-year-old is enjoying her maiden Games, despite the results.
“It’s been amazing and everything I dreamed it to be. I’ve worked hard to get here and it’s a surreal feeling to be playing in the Paralympics.”
Egypt suffered a second straight mercy defeat as the USA ran riot in the first half, netting nine times before putting the African side out of their misery early after the restart as they claimed a 10-0 victory.
Amanda Dennis scored four times with Lisa Czechowski, Eliana Mason and Aysa Miller all grabbing doubles as they joined Turkey on maximum points in women’s group D.