The captain of the New Zealand men's hockey team Shea McAleese says the Black Sticks ran out of time to complete a second-half comeback against Japan, who won 4-3 at the Four Nations tournament in Nottingham.
The Black Sticks conceded three goals inside the first 16 minutes before Richard Petherick converted a penalty corner after 23 minutes.
Japan led 4-1 at half-time but a 30-minute delay due to a thunderstorm allowed the Black Sticks to regroup.
Andrew Hayward converted another penalty corner chance after 54 minutes before Marcus Child scored two minutes later.
Coach Shane McLeod is happy with the way they adapted to the speed of Japan's counter-attacking play and dominated the second half.
McLeod's using the tournament to prepare younger players for next month's Champions Trophy.
The Black Sticks men play Great Britain on Saturday morning.
They began with a 3-1 loss to Germany.