The Dutch women were fast of the blocks in the chilly and rainy early morning, and Kim Lammers had a first chance within the first minute of play. She was on target soon after, receiving in front of the empty net a pass from Kitty van Male who had run through the whole Japanese defence on the right of the circle. Lammers could have added a similar goal a few minutes later, but the ball just eluded her stick after a spectacular dive.
The steady rain was affecting the pace of play and half way through the period the Japanese took advantage of some unusual unforced errors from the Dutch defence to create dangerous situations in the circle. They earned a penalty-corner that they failed to control then The Netherlands progressively settled their game and took control of play. Ellen Hoog added a second goal after an outstanding move to eliminate two defenders and slam a reverse shot that surprised Sakiyo Asano in the Japanese goal.
Second period resumed in the same unspectacular way. The crowd bundled up in colourful ponchos were finally given an opportunity to cheer when Kim Lammers scored her second goal of the day (from a golden pass by Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel after a decisive run on the backline. Japan scored their first goal of the Olympic competition soon after by Rika Komazawa, on hand at the far post to deflect a cross that had eluded all the defenders. They immediately added a second goal on a penalty-corner, Aki Mitsuhashi deflecting the ball from close range above Joyce Sombroek in the Dutch goal.
With 15 minutes to go, the match did not seem a formality any more for the defending Olympic champions, and the Japanese and Dutch fans became more vocal to push the teams. Lidewij Welten nearly added a fourth goal after a powerful run through the Japanese defence but saw her shot rebound on the post. The end of match was tense and passionate, with the Japanese pushing desperately for the equalizer and the Dutch using all their experience to keep them at bay and protect their narrow lead until the final hooter.
New Zealand, who stunned Australia 1-0 in their opening match, did not waste time to stake their claim on the game, forcing a penalty-corner on their first attack. It was perfectly executed, Charlotte Harrison deflecting from close range the initial shot by Kayla Sharland. They then had four unsuccessful penalty-corner attempts before Clarissa Eshuis finally scored on the next one with a direct shot to widen the gap to two goals.