Olympic Games – Quarter-Final
Spain 2 Great Britain 2 (Great Britain win shootout 2-0)
Great Britain’s goalkeeper, Maddie Hinch was their heroine yet again on a dramatic night in the Oi Hockey Stadium as the reigning Olympic champions set up a rematch with the Netherlands in the semi-finals after finally seeing off Spain via a shootout after a 2-2 draw.
Hinch made four saves in the shootout and unintentionally delayed Great Britain’s celebrations as Spain used their video referral to establish that Hinch had fouled Beatriz Perez after her shot from Spain’s fourth attempt rebounded back off the left post. Hinch duly saved from Perez’s retake with the rebound flying over the bar to clinch Great Britain’s place in the last four.
Clara Ycart had been the first Spanish player to be denied before Anna Toman fired past the right post. Hinch then dived to her right to save from Begoña Garcia, Hannah Martin putting Great Britain ahead by showing composure to send the ball against the left sideboard after Maria Ruiz saved her first shot.
Georgina Oliva ran out of time trying to poke the ball home after another Hinch save, with Sarah Jones scoring what turned out to be the decisive goal against the backboard.
In normal time, Ruiz palmed away Toman’s shot from Great Britain’s first penalty corner in the third minute in a relatively uneventful first quarter, other than Jones having a two minute rest after seeing green for shooting for goal after the ball made contact with her foot.
Spain nearly caught the Great Britain defence out early in the second quarter but Berta Bonastre dragged her shot well wide of the right post. Martin broke the deadlock in the 17th minute, running into the circle, evading a couple of Spanish defenders and slipping the ball between Ruiz’s legs to notch her fourth goal of the tournament.
Spain levelled three minutes later, a Belen Iglesias deflection nestling in the left corner from their first penalty corner of the match. Their two subsequent routines in the second half failed miserably, bobbling before speeding out of the circle, the first resulting in a collision between Sarah Robertson and Lucia Jiminez and the second setting up a counter attack by Hannah Martin which was ultimately defended.
Great Britain restored their lead in the 37th minute, shortly after Ycart was sent to the sin-bin, a superb drag-flick from Grace Balsdon giving Ruiz no chance on the way to the right corner.
Spain couldn’t take advantage of Fiona Crackles’ green card at the end of the third quarter, but their equaliser came with nine minutes to play, Alejandra Torres-Quevado playing the ball forward for Bonastre to lob the ball just out of Hinch’s reach with her second touch to restore parity.
Three minutes from time, Martin, who had suffered an injury scare after being struck on the hand, came agonizingly close to winning the match, the ball going behind Ruiz and rebounding off the right post.
Laura Barrios also had a late chance to win the match but could only shoot past the left post as the teams were left to settle for a shootout.
Having narrowly lost to the Netherlands 1-0 in their pool match, Great Britain will be confident that they can go one better when they meet at 0230 BST on 4 August. The Netherlands overcame New Zealand 3-0 in their quarter-final.
The other semi-final will see Argentina, 3-0 winners over Germany, take on the surprise package India, who stunned Australia by winning 1-0 to join their men in the last four.
Scorers: Belen Iglesias 20-PC, Berta Bonastre 51-F
Starters: Maria Ruiz (GK); Clara Ycart, Carlota Petchame (Capt.), Maria Lopez, Belen Iglesias, Lola Riera, Julia Pons, Begoña Garcia, Beatriz Perez, Georgina Oliva, Lucia Jiminez.
Subs: Laura Barrios (3 mins), Candela Meijas (3), Alicia Magaz (3), Alejandra Torres-Quevedo (4), Berta Bonastre (5).
Cards: Green: Clara Ycart (36 mins).
Scorers: Hannah Martin 17-F, Grace Balsdon 37-PC.
Starters: Maddie Hinch (GK); Laura Unsworth, Anna Toman, Sarah Jones, Susannah Townsend, Sarah Robertson, Ellie Rayer, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Pearne-Webb (Capt.), Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley.
Subs: Hannah Martin (3 mins), Izzy Petter (4), Fiona Crackles (4), Leah Wilkinson (5), Grace Balsdon (5).
Cards: Green: Sarah Jones (9 mins), Fiona Crackles (45 mins).
Umpires: Aleisha Neumann (AUS) and Annelize Rostron (RSA).