Hockey World Cup 2018: Spain vs New Zealand - 3 Standout Players from the match
It was a vital encounter from the perspective of both Spain and New Zealand. Argentina are already through to the knockout stages after defeating Spain 4-3 in the first match and New Zealand 3-0 in their second match -- thereby getting the full three points from both their games.
New Zealand's coach Darren Smith said before the start of the match that even a point would be a good result for his side and that is exactly what his boys managed as they came back from behind in scintillating fashion to draw the crucial game against Spain 2-2.
The Black Sticks rotated the ball well at the start of the first quarter but fell short of options while passing as the positioning of players was not the best.
Spain found the rhythm and fluency in their game after scoring the first goal through Albert Beltran in the ninth minute. They further increased the tempo of the game in the second quarter.
The Spanish players made many of the circle entries from the middle and were dominant in the second quarter. Álvaro Iglesias doubled their lead at the end of the second quarter by scoring with a well-taken shot in the 27th minute.
New Zealand had got a little passive in the second quarter but they were pressing high in the third quarter.
Maybe the team talk by Darren Smith at halftime had reinvigorated them and given them a new energy. They started making inroads in the third quarter.
The high press pushed Spain on the backfoot and resulted in cheap turnovers. It was a nervy quarter for The Red Sticks even though the Black Sticks failed to find the back of the net.
Richard Joyce was brought off in the final quarter in a bid to go all out and have that extra man on the field. New Zealand fans present at the Kalinga stadium made a lot of noise and got right behind their team.
Darren ultimately got the reward of his brave decisions as Hayden Philips pulled one back for them in the 50th minute with a rocket of a shot.
The Black Sticks got their first Penalty corner in the fourth quarter with four minutes remaining on the clock. And they got the equalizer with Kane Russell firing the ball into the bottom left corner.
The 2-2 draw witnessed some pulsating action from both sides and exceptional display hockey was at display all around.
Without further ado let's see who were the players which made the most impact in the game and are our standout players of the match:
#3 Quico Cortés (Spain)
The Spanish custodian Cortes made plenty of exceptional saves in the match. He was called to action on plenty of occasions during the course of the game.
Ross hit a powerful shot down the middle and could have given The Black Sticks the lead in the fourth minute.
However, Cortes was there to deny him. Marcus Childs had another exceptional opportunity in the ninth minute to get an equalizer for New Zealand. He got a good shot away as well but Cortes somehow got a foot in the way.
The 35-year-old found himself in a difficult situation in the 33rd minute as the ball was stuck in his feet.
It was really patient goalkeeping by him as he waited for Gonzalez to take it away to safety. A nervy situation which was well dealt with through calm and composed goalkeeping.
The Spanish skipper really made a positive impact in the match. New Zealand got a total nine shots on goal. Cortes could not stop them on just two occasions.
Hayden Philips hit a scintillating shot into the roof of the net in the 50th minute to bring New Zealand right back in the game. It was an absolute rocket of a shot and Cortes had very little time to react. It was a cracker and the young New Zealand midfielder took it really well.
The two goals he eventually conceded in the final quarter were near impossible to stop for the Spanish keeper.
Richard Joyce, New Zealand's goalkeeper was not too bad at the other end either and made a few timely interventions.