From the almost certain goodbye to the Tokyo 2020 Games to go to the quarterfinals. All in a minute. The last of the game. Pau Quemada scored and Spain qualified. The draw against Australia qualified the men’s field hockey team. A place will be played for the semifinals in the game that will face Belgium this Sunday.
The goal came thanks to a penalty-corner. The Spanish team thus added the point they needed to not depend on the result of the match between New Zealand and Argentina that closed the day. A tie between New Zealanders and Argentines would have left Spain out of the Games.
“Since August 15, 2016 when we lost in the quarterfinals in Rio [contra Argentina por 2-1], we have been working for five years to be there and enter the semifinal that we could not get then, “recalled Frederic Soyez, the coach. The Spanish team suffered to rebuild its bad start in Tokyo, with three defeats in a row, but beat Japan in Matchday four and the fifth match, against Australia, allowed them to reach their first goal, a move to the quarterfinals.
“Our defensive deployment has been incredible,” said Spanish goalkeeper Quico Cortés. “Unlike other games, we have not disconnected at any time and I did not think it would be my last game,” explained the 38-year-old goalkeeper, who plays his fourth Games and will conclude his professional career in Tokyo.
The start of the meeting was delayed for an hour due to the heavy downpour that fell at the Oi facilities. Australia took advantage in the second quarter thanks to a penalty-corner that Tim Wickham converted. Soyez revealed the content of his pre-match harangue: “I told the players that it was going to be a match to remember, to play with passion, that we have been working for this for five years, to enjoy and play with heart.” Soyez added: “Finishing the game like this tastes better. We were playing well, but we lacked success in the first three games. The victory against Japan restored our confidence. Now, we are where we wanted to be. Let’s go for it all. Now we will have to play the game of our lives ”.
Australia, 1; Spain, 1
Australia: Charte (p); Wickham, Dawson Beltz, Ockenden, Ehetton, Govers, Martin, Smmonds, Howard, Zaliewsky, Ogilvie, Beale, Mitton, Brand, and Hayward.
Spain: Quico Cortés (p); Alonso, Romeu, Sallés, Delàs, González de Castejón, Alegre, Oliva, Lleonart, Ruiz, Quemada, Sánchez Iglesias, Piera, Beltrán and Boltó.
Goals: 1-0. M. 23. Wickham. 1-1. M. 60. Pau Quemada.
Referees: Shaikh (India) and Mejzlik (Czech Rep.).
Oi hockey stadium.
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