Hockeyroos win their World Cup opener

The Hockeyroos began their Women's World Cup campaign with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Japan at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

Australia took charge of proceedings with the first three goals of the game before Japan rallied to reduce the deficit.

Goals from Rosie Malone (17th) and Emily Hurtz (22nd) had the Hockeyroos two up at halftime before Jodie Kenny extended the margin five minutes in the second half.

Motomi Kawamura (36th) pulled one back immediately but despite their late pressure they could only find another goal in the final minute through Akiko Kato.

The win put fifth-ranked Australia top of Pool D with three points before world No.4 New Zealand and Belgium play on Monday morning AEST.

The Hockeyroos are next in action on Tuesday (11pm AEST) against Belgium.

Australia made their early dominance count when Stephanie Kershaw won a 17th minute penalty corner and Malone deflected into the roof of the net from Georgina Morgan's drag flick.

"I was ready to go and I was in the right place at the right time," Malone, who opened the scoring in her first appearance at a major tournament, said.

"We practice that 1000 times and it paid off, so I'm stoked."

The goal was Malone's fourth for Australia in her ninth cap, having only debuted in January.

Hurtz doubled the lead when she tapped in from close range in the 22nd minute after Kathryn Slattery's shot rebounded to her off the post.

Grace Stewart won Australia their third penalty corner in the 35th minute and Kenny stepped up with a trademark drag flick into the top corner.

Before the Hockeyroos had a chance to ponder an onslaught Japan replied with Kawamura's reverse stick shot beating the advancing Australia keeper Rachael Lynch.

Australia survived a goal-mouth scramble moments before three-quarter time before Kato forced the ball home at the second attempt from point-blank range to round out the scoring.