The Japanese were coming away from a spectacular win against Australia, and the rumour mill was working on overdrive speculating about the semi-final playoffs. Only two of the three teams Japan, Australia and England would be able to battle for semi-final places, and one would have to settle for a 5th to 8th place. This should have been decided on the goal difference of this USA match, meaning that Japan would have to battle hard to try to get a reasonable goal difference, but the officials decided that the only goal differences which will count are the ones between Japan, Australia and England, which have all been played. So this match is to all intents and purposes completely meaningless for both teams, which is a real shame. Japan are effectively already through to the semi-final playoffs (unless England beat Canada which is extremely unlikely) and now it doesn't even matter how heavily Japan lose against the USA. And yes, even if Japan are equal on points with England and have a worse overall goal difference than England.
Having said that, Japan got the first goal against the USA, as they had done against Canada and Australia, and certainly weren't scared of running against the USA defence and taking men on. They even won the first few faces and had a respectable amount of confident possession. However the USA turnovers and breaks were relentless and the Japanese face-off man gave away too many penalties, allowing the USA to score 8 composed goals before quarter-time.
The pace slowed in the second quarter, but the USA scored another 5 unanswered goals to make it 13-1. A lovely rebound snatch brought Japan another goal, and a sneaky shot from the tightest of angles brought another, leading to a pretty respectable 14-3 at three-quarter time.
In the final quarter, the USA enjoyed a burst of goals, but then relaxed in the last few minutes and Japan were able to get two consolation goals - one diving reach and one well-screened corner shot, making the final score 19-5.
Germany started brightly but couldn't get past the Australia keeper, while the Australian attack moved the ball quickly and finished their chances superbly. At quarter-time it was 6-0 to Australia, helped by their own strong midfield play and by unforced errors from the German side.
The second quarter didn't start well for Germany, with the goalkeeper's clear being intercepted at the halfway line and immediately passed into the empty net from the longstick defender. The rest of the second quarter was completely one-way traffic, with Australian domination, apart from one single consolation goal for Germany from Gregory Lazarus in the last minute of the half.
Going into the third quarter at 13-1 down, Germany got another one back on a solo effort round the cage, but a composed Australian attack replied immediately in double measure to give 15-2. Amid frantic midfield scenes and some novel flicking, both teams scored again to bring the score up to 18-3 at three-quarter time. The Australian defence were playing very physically and were perhaps lucky not to concede more penalties.
The fourth quarter saw plenty of changes of possession, but Australia created a phase of dominance and scored three more goals to go up to 21. A nice solo clearing run from the German keeper Philipp Maas led to a feed to the crease and nearly an assist, except that Australian keeper Steve Mackey saved the shot and the Australian break immediately returned the ball for an Australian goal.
A solo effort from Dave Campbell for Germany gave them a final consolation goal, but despite their intense efforts to pressure forward and pepper more shots, the score remained at 22-4 to the final whistle.
Of course Germany's defeat is bad (but expected) news not only for Germany but also for England, as that means unless England beat Canada (which they certainly won't), then England miss out on the semifinals due to the goal-difference calculations.
Canada started the game on fire, dominating the first five minutes and scoring two excellent goals with dynamic movement and great picks. England took some time to get into the game but were able to move the ball effectively around the hard-pressing Canada defence and get some good shots off. This pressure paid off with two good goals, making the most of a Canada penalty to draw level at 2-2. But the Canada style overcame again towards the end, with almost casual goals to go up 5-2 at the quarter.
Geoff Snider's faceoffs continued to prove crucial for Canadian possession in the second quarter, giving the attack plenty of time to work the English 6-man zone, with quick and precise handling. Meanwhile the Canadian defence, working man-on-man, pushed out aggressively to deny the English attack. This all led to an 11-3 score at half-time, and a well-deserved lead for Canada.
In the third quarter, England's slow and patient attack paid dividends with two more goals, but the gap remained the same at 13-5.
The fourth quarter was end-to-end pressure but few goals, as Canada seemed to ease off once the victory was secure. Still they managed to get two more goals after good defensive work to go 15-5. Thanks to the officials, the scoreline was completely meaningless to England too, but they still got a sneaky man-up backdoor goal from Mark Reynolds just after a timeout. England were very unlucky to go two men down after innocuous challenges, while several late hits from Canada went unpunished.
The game finished 17-6, but as discussed already, it didn't matter at all. It sounds like a flattering scoreline for England but Canada showed that they could dominate the match and score at will, so the result was never really in doubt.
Canada now goes unbeaten into the semi-finals, and England will enter the 5th-8th place playoffs against Germany and two of the lower teams.
Netherlands 9, Wales 8
Finland 21, Spain 4
New Zealand 16, Latvia 3
France 10, Mexico 6
Austria 13, Korea 8
Switzerland 11, Hong Kong 7
USA 19, Japan 5
Scotland 15, Ireland 9
Sweden 15, Czech Republic 8
Australia 22, Germany 4
Bermuda 8, Norway 4
Italy 10, Denmark 3
Poland 11, Slovakia 6
Canada 17, England 6