Eire 1 (R Upton) Spain 1 (B Garcia)
Eire’s hopes of breaking but extra new floor in hockey had been thwarted by Spain in Amsterdam on Wednesday, a 1-1 draw of their remaining pool sport ending their quest to succeed in the semi-finals of the EuroHockey Championships for the very first time. Spain as an alternative advance due to scoring extra objectives of their pool marketing campaign, the edges having completed degree on factors and aim distinction.
Needing a win, then, to pip the Spanish to the runners-up spot of their pool behind the Netherlands, Eire got a dream begin by Roisin Upton when she scored after simply three minutes from a penalty nook that had been gained by her Catholic Institute team-mate Naomi Carroll. Their corners had largely misfired towards Scotland on Monday, however this one was crisp and scientific, Upton’s drag taking a slight deflection off a Spanish defender earlier than it flew previous Maria Ruiz.
From there on, although, Spain dominated the sport, and if it wasn’t for Ayeisha McFerran’s goalkeeping and a few final gasp defending, they’d have gained comfortably.
They got here to life as quickly as they conceded, their equaliser coming within the thirteenth minute from a slickly labored nook, Maria Lopez choosing out Begona Garcia on the again submit from the place she swept dwelling.
Skilful and pacey, as Spanish sides are typically, they remained in management, urgent excessive and aggressively to maintain Eire pinned again and their defence below relentless strain. With the forwards and midfield dropping deep to assist the defensive effort, there was not often an out ball for Eire, leading to them persistently giving freely possession cheaply.
Regardless of all that strain, although, Spain couldn’t discover that second aim – however they got here mighty shut on a number of events. Within the third quarter, Lena Tice used her cricket expertise to make a mid-air stick save from Georgina Oliva’s goalbound shot, after which McFerran made a wise save from Lola Riera’s penalty nook drag, getting down low to her proper to show the trouble away.
Spain got here nearer nonetheless to taking the lead within the remaining quarter when Lopez’s nook strike hit the left submit, having taken a deflection off Katie Mullan’s stick. Tice and Roisin Upton, in the meantime, mixed to disclaim Lucia Jimenez on the road after Garcia had set her up in entrance of aim, whereas McFerran made a effective double save from Berta Bonastre and Alicia Magaz 4 minutes from time earlier than saving Carlota Petchame’s nook strike within the remaining minute.
Eire’s solely alternative of notice after they scored got here when Anna O’Flanagan gained their second penalty nook of the sport within the remaining quarter, however Shirley McCay’s strike was comfortably saved by Ruiz.
“A really disappointing end result for us,” stated coach Sean Dancer. “The way in which the sport began we had been in a extremely good place to get the win and get that semi-final place. However Spain are an excellent crew they usually did rather well to dam up the centre of the sphere. We simply wanted a bit of bit extra high quality via midfield and up entrance to harm them a bit of bit extra.”
“We’re simply completely gutted,” stated Upton, “after scoring early we simply put ourselves below an excessive amount of strain, we would have liked to handle that section of the sport a lot better, we simply weren’t scientific sufficient.”
A semi-final place would have secured a slot within the 2022 World Cup, however Eire nonetheless have an opportunity of avoiding having to play in a qualifier later this yr if they will end fifth on this match.
World Cup co-hosts the Netherlands and Spain reaching the semi-finals means fifth place suffices for qualification, Eire now having to battle it out in a 4 crew pool for that prize – they are going to play Italy and, likely, England or Belgium (they meet later at the moment) on Friday and Saturday, however having already performed Scotland, the edges gained’t meet once more, Eire’s three factors from that sport carried ahead.
Nonetheless loads to play for, then, regardless of Wednesday’s disappointment.
Eire: A McFerran, R Upton, N Evans, Okay Mullan (capt), S McCay, L Tice, N Carroll, H McLoughlin, L Holden, S Hawkshaw, A O’Flanagan. Subs: L Murphy, M Carey, M Frazer, C Watkins, N Daly, H Matthews, D Duke.
Spain: M Ruiz, C Petchame, M Lopez, B Iglesias, L Riera, J Pons, B Garcia, X Gine, B Perez, G Oliva (capt), L Jimenez. Subs: M Garcia, L Barrios,
B Bonastre, C Mejias, A Torres-Quevedo, A Magaz, P Alvarez.
Umpires: L Delforge (Belgium), I Amorosini (Italy).