FIH Hockey World League Final 2017: Australia overpower Spain to enter semifinals
The Spanish dream run came to an abrupt end, as defending champions Australia drubbed them 4-1 to enter the semifinals of the 2017 edition of the FIH Hockey World League Final held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
The Australian team were in for a tough challenge in the beginning as the Spanish attack defended skillfully to prevent from them finding the net in the first quarter. Frustrating them further, Marc Gracia struck a crisp shot into the Australian goalpost only 5 minutes into the second quarter to give Spain a lead of 1-0.
However, the Kookaburras came storming back just a couple of minutes before the half time. Jeremy Hayward converted a penalty corner into a brilliant goal to level the score.
Looking to take the lead, Spain pushed men forward to continue to frustrate the Australian defence. However, three minutes into the final quarter, the Aussies received another penalty corner. The opportunity was converted into a splendid goal by Aaron Kleinschmidt without breaking a sweat. From then on, the match never remained the same.
Jubilant by the shift in momentum, the Australians came out all guns blazing and blasted the Spanish defence to smithereens. In the 50th minute, they received two back to back penalty corners. Star player Blake Govers converted both those chances to increase his individual tally to four goals.
The back to back goals sapped Spain's confidence completely and they could never recover from that assault. With their convincing win, Australia has become the first team to enter the semifinals of the competition. Their next game will be against the winner of the quarterfinal clash between European powerhouses Germany and Netherlands.
Spain, who had impressed one and all with their dream run, will now be looking to finish as high as possible in the event. Their next opponent for the classification matches (5-8) will depend on the results of the other three quarterfinals.