Argentina vs. Spain
1.00pm push back
Argentina, who are ranked third in the world, push back. In the second minute, they play the ball across the pitch, right to left. Agustina Albertarrio drives into the circle and plays it off a Spanish foot, for a short corner. The ball goes out to the first castle and a thunderous reverse strike is hit towards the Spanish keeper Maria Ruiz. Spain then get a free hit after a tussle for the rebound.
The Spanish go down their left flank. Number 25, Alicia Magaz, drives along the baseline and her shot hits the Argentine number 1 Belen Succi. It rebounds back into a danger zone and Berta Bonastre looks to lob the keeper. It goes to the back post and Carola Salvatella finishes with an overhead smash into the goal. The underdogs are leading.
Both teams are looking to attack at pace. This could be a bruising encounter… In the fifth minute Spain get another corner for a foot foul, after an attack down the left. It’s hit straight at Belen Succi who saves it, but pushes it into a Spanish player for a second corner. This is deflected for a long corner, which is defended well, by a quick Argentine press.
After seven minutes there is an Argentine shout for a foot in the Spanish circle. They ask for a referral and the Scottish umpire, Sarah Wilson, stops play at the half way line to allow the decision to be made. It’s given; a penalty corner for the world number 3 team. It’s played out to the right post, but hits the defenders foot for another set piece. The second corner goes out to the first castle, played to the left post and deflected into the back of the net. 19 year old Julieta Jankunas backs her first goal of the tournament, to level the game.
Argentina are playing a 3-2-3-2 formation, while Spain are looking to get a result with a 2-3-2-3.
Las Leonas are looking fluid in attack, sending one over the bar, after combining across the pitch. They then cut out a pass out from the Spanish defence, nearly scoring again. This run of possession forces a Spanish player off the pitch with a green card, after looking flustered under pressure. The Argentines then move the ball into a 45 degree angle to the left of the circle. Number 26 Maria Ortiz moves it over the line of the circle and absolutely thwacks it into the top right hand corner. The score is now 2 – 1 Argentina after 15 minutes.
We are into the second period now and both teams are pressing each others ball carriers, with three Spanish players surrounding an Argentine deep in her own half. Spain seems to counter with numbers and then try to keep the ball in their opponents half, or even the defensive quarter. Argentina’s Bianca Donati wins the ball in the Spanish half. She combines with a team mate to move the ball in to the circle. Augustina Albertarrio finishes off the move to make the game 3 – 1.
With three minutes of the half remaining the Argentine captain Delfina Merino, takes the ball down the right hand side, wins the free hit, takes it quickly and centres for Ortiz to score her second of the game. Four goals to one now scored for Las Leonas. The Argentine fans are now in good spirits, enjoying what could be a walk over for their country. Looking over the BT Sport highlights at halftime, the Spanish GK Maria Ruiz looked suspect, especially for the fourth goal, getting beaten by a tap at her near post by a player running across her.
Within a minute of the second half, Argentina are at it again. After driving the ball into the circle, they drill the ball straight at Ruiz. She doesn’t deal with the shot very well, nor the rebound as Merino forces the ball over the line, as the keeper tries to smother it. The umpire awards the goal, but refers it herself to make sure. The video umpire upholds the decision. 5 – 1 Argentina…
Argentinian number 4 Eugenia Trinchinetti is looking lively cutting in from the flanks, but soon gets a green card for chopping wood. Spain are not looking as up for this match as they were in the fist ten minutes, but still try to go forward, as well as creating defensive overloads against the Argentines as they look to attack. Las Leonas still have a fair amount of pace about them, more so than the Spanish. Magdalena Fernandez intercepts the ball in her own half and drives up the left wing. The Spanish took a while to cut out her run. There is only one goal in the third quarter and the period with the team in blue and white looking incisive.
At the start of the final period, Spain look to crash the ball into the ‘D’, but Argentina do well to defend it. Albertarrio, sprints down the left with the ball. Combines with a team mate in the ‘D, who is fouled for a penalty stroke. Noel Barrionuevo, the most experienced player on the pitch with 312 caps, steps up to the spot and scores.
Argentina are running away with it. Spain look like they are either going through the motions now, or have run out of ideas…
In the fourth minute, Spain asks for an Argentine foot in the circle; it’s given. The ball is pushed out to the top of the ‘D’, there is a trick pass to the left, a shot is swept towards goal and deflected into the roof of the net by Beatriz Perez, pulling back a goal to make the score 6 – 2. Spain are unlikely to make a come bak at this point though.
With six minutes remaining Fernandez finds space on the left side of the circle, but fires over the bar. On 12 minutes, Argentina attack down the left again, but Rocio Sanchez lifts her centred pass into the area and possession is turned over. Soon after this, Spain’s Beatriz Perez gets the ball top ‘D’, but drags the reverse hit and it goes wide of the right hand post.
12 seconds left and Merino plays the ball forward to Barrionuevo, who is obstructed in the circle. Short corner, but referred by Spainand overturned by the video umpire and the Europeans get a free hit out. This is immediately cut out by the Argentine forward line, but the attack breaks down and the hooter for the final whistle goes.
The final score is Argentina 6 – 2 Spain.