Spain became the first nation to win points in the 15th FIH Women’s World Cup when they won the opening match on home turf at the Estadi Olimpic de Terrassa.
The magnificent venue, which has such a tradition in hockey, hosted the showpiece opening match between Spain and Canada. The Pool C match saw the host nation, who are ranked eighth in the FIH World Rankings, put in a dominant first half performance to beat Canada (WR:12) by a convincing 4-1 scoreline.
Spain vs Canada
Spain broke the deadline after just five minutes when Belen Iglesias scored from a rebound off a penalty corner. There was quite a goalmouth scramble before Iglesias was able to tip the ball home and Canada’s goalkeeper Rowan Harris will be annoyed that her defenders didn’t clear the danger ball earlier. It was no less than Spain deserved as they dominated the first 15 minutes.
The Red Sticks doubled their lead in the 21st minute when Gine Xantal sent home a sweetly-struck hard shot that nestled in the corner of Canada’s goal.
Canada created their own chance. Hannah Haughn, who has recently returned from injury, was able to weave her way through the Spanish defence but couldn’t find the final touch to trouble Melabnia Garcia in the Spanish goal.
Five minutes later and Spain were back on the attack with yet another penalty corner. This time it was captain Maria Lopez who found a way past the Canada defence. Her hard shot took a deflection off the number one runner for Canada.
The fouth goal was a fabulous demonstration of fast hands and quick thinking. Georgina Oliva picked a perfect pass from close to the sideline to Begona Garcia who was waiting in the circle. Garcia shifted her position slightly to evade the defenders and guided the ball past Harris.
Following the dominant performance by the Spanish in the first half, the second half can be claimed by Canada. Spain continued to press and create chances but were unable to find a way through the Canadian defence. Canada, for their part, showed the defiant resilience for which they are renown. Goalkeeper Harris will be pleased with some of the athletic saves she pulled off in the second half.
Canada were rewarded for their efforts with a goal in the 57th minute by Karli Johansen as she slipped the ball through the legs of Jana Martinez. Natalie Sourisseau did the hard work to win the penalty corner from which Johansen found the back of the net.
Following the game, Player of the Match, Georgina Oliva, said: ‘We knew the first match was important because we can be nervous, particularly in front of a home crowd. Now we must stick to our plan and play match by match and then other results will come.’
The action in the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup continues on Saturday 2 July. At the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen, New Zealand will play China in Pool B at 14:00. That match is followed at 16:30 by Germany versus Chile, the first Pool A game of the tournament.
At 18:00 Argentina face Korea in Pool C and at 18:30 Pool A continues as the Netherlands start their campaign in a repeat of the 2018 final, when they face Ireland in the Wagener Stadium.
The final match of the day sees Australia against Japan in the first Pool D match.
Pool A: Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Chile
Pool B: England, New Zealand, India, China
Pool C: Argentina, Spain, Korea, Canada
Pool D: Australia, Belgium, Japan, South Africa
FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup Spain & Netherlands 2022
1 July 2022 Results
Estadi Olimpic de Terrassa
Spain 4, Canada 1
Player of the Match: Georgina Oliva (ESP)
Umpires: Hannah Harrison (ENG, Ayanna McClean (TTO), Kelly Hudson (NZL – video)