Great Britain vs Japan: Ones to Watch

Susie Gilbert in action for Great Britain.


A little over a week until Japan come to town to face off against Great Britain’s women at The Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in the Investec Private Banking International. The Cherry Blossoms head to London as part of a rigorous preparation phase for the Olympic Qualifiers, as both sides continue to get ready for the upcoming World League competitions this June.

Japan, ranked just two places below Danny Kerry’s side in the world will come to England playing a very solid defensive style with the emphasis on quick counterattacking hockey. We highlight some of the players who are likely to play a key role for both sides in this clash.

Japan:

Goalkeeper Sakiyo Asano, will go down in folklore in the UK after her incredible display at London 2012 kept China at bay to steer her side to a 1-0 win in the final pool game. The victory ultimately allowed Great Britain to progress to the semi-finals and the rest, as they say, is history. Asano is a formidable shot stopper who has acquitted herself superbly and carved her place out as a reliable No1.

Captain Miyuki Nakagawa comes with a growing reputation as the team’s playmaker. The midfielder leads by example and boasts excellent vision and awareness of where her teammates are, as well as the uncanny ability to find them with her outstanding range of passing.

Hazuki Nagai is one of the team’s main penalty corner threats. The 20-year-old has a good low drag flick in her arsenal but is also instrumental in setting up her teammates from some of the variations they choose to run on set pieces. Japan score the lion’s share of their goals from corners, so Nagai is not to be underestimated.

Maddie Hinch keeps an eye on the action in front of her

Great Britain:

Goalkeeper Maddie Hinch has been impressive since she claimed the No1 shirt as her own in the wake of the London Olympics. Terrific agility, quickness, bravery, Hinch has the lot. A worthy adversary to any striker in game play or in shootout situations, she has over 50 international caps to her name and shows no signs of letting up just yet.

Emily Maguire is one of the ever growing Scottish contingent in the Great Britain squad. The elegant defender collected an Olympic bronze medal on this site in 2012 and brings her vision, passing ability, defensive toughness and her tenacity back to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a key part of the GB defensive unit. If selected, the game against Japan will mark Maguire’s 150th international appearance.

Maguire’s club team mate Susie Gilbert has gone from strength to strength since making her debut back in 2008. Now approaching 150 international caps, Gilbert has carved herself a place as one of the key players in Danny Kerry’s side with her excellent skill on the ball, her seemingly limitless energy and her ability to link up with her teammates. Gilbert will be an attacking threat as she continues to impress.

Tickets are still available for the Investec Private Banking International between Great Britain and Japan. For all the details on how to buy, click here.

The great news is that tickets to this event form part of England Hockey's Cash-Back scheme, where you can earn money for your club just by watching the sport you love.
Find out all the details here.