England produced another thrilling comeback win to overturn Japan and claim 5th place at the 2018 Men’s World Championships.
Japan initially stunned England, racing into a 0-7 lead at the ¼ time, but the team fought back valiantly to secure an 11-9 victory and retain their ranking from 2014.
With the opening face-off at 11pm local time, England appeared half asleep in the opening stages as a busy and intense Japan took the game to their opponents.
It took 13 minutes for England to hold any possession whatsoever by which point Japan had built up a 6-0 lead and then added a seventh before the quarter was up to leave England an uphill battle.
However, as we associate with this team, a fightback was indeed launched early in the second, Tom Brook proving the catalyst in a remarkable comeback.
After a save from Will Baxter, Brook finished off a quick transition move to get England going and then won the resulting face to bag another within a minute.
Then followed another rapid face-off win from Brook and a special moment for LSM, Sam Patterson, who in his final England match after four world championships going back to 2006, scored his first ever goal at a Worlds.
Another goal from Alex Russell and England had clawed back a significant chunk of the deficit, and although Japan broke the run to restore a four-goal lead, Nick Watson scored on the stroke of half-time to make it 5-8 and the momentum with England.
There was little let up after the interval with England continuing to apply the pressure, although were unable initially to get a score.
However, the pressure finally told, and with it came a flurry of England goals.
First, Christian Scarpello scored with the bounce shot under the goalie, then Zac Guy managed the same, assisted by Watson, before Ryan Hunns tied the game up with a shot too hot to handle and England had wiped out the lead.
However, Japan did deliver a sucker punch right at the end of the third to go back ahead and England had to draw from the well once more to overturn the 8-9 score line going into the final quarter.
And despite a tense atmosphere throughout the stadium, England remained calm and composed throughout the final 20, levelling again through Scarpello before Watson put England ahead for the first time in the game.
From that point, the game rarely looked in doubt, England doing a good job of hassling the Japanese to force a number of turnovers, and when Guy got his second with three minutes to play, the win was secure and England could celebrate another against-the-odds victory.
England Points: Christian Scarpello (2,2), Zac Guy (2,2), Nick Watson (2,1), Ryan Hunns (1,2), Tom Brook (2,0), Sam Patterson (1,0), Alex Russell (1,0), Pete Hayes (0,1)
Japan Points: Satoshi Seike (3,0), Mikisuke Sekine (2,1), Wataru Tsugu (1,1), Ryu Matsushita (1,1), Gaku Iwano (1,0), Kinori Sugihara (1,0), Ken Ikegawa (0,1)