Spain vs. South Africa
12.00pm push back
According to the Spanish journalist sat back to me, the Spanish head coach is an English man, called Adrian Lock. South Africa, though, start brightly, trying to get in at the goal from the right baseline a couple of times, but can’t find space for a shot.
In the second minute the Spanish win a short corner, for a foot in the South African circle. It’s injected to Spain’s number 17, Lola Reira, who then plays the ball to the outside of the right post for a defection by Carmen Cano. It hits another S.A. player in the body for a second short corner. It’s gone back out to 17, who’s moved over to the left of the circle to the first castle. This time she drag flicks it into the top right hand corner and Spain take a one goal lead.
Spain have definitely been dominant so far. I can’t think of the South Africans actually managing to get a shot off yet. Both teams are playing a 3-4-3, but the Spanish team are a whole lot more fluid in the way the move on and off the ball. In the eleventh minute there is another attack down the right. The Spanish winger weaves into the circle and plays the ball towards the central channel. Number 10, Berta Bonastre, runs from a deeper position and shots first time. 2 – 0 to the Red Sticks. It’s all going well for the team ranked eleventh in the world, but not so much for their opponents, who then see Erin Hunter sin binned with a green card.
31 year old South African, Dirkie Chamberlain, wins the ball from Rocio Gutierrez. The ball is played to Candice Manuel, who takes a shot and then the rebound, but the Spanish keeper, Maria Ruiz, is up to the task and Spain move the ball away from danger. The score is 2 – 0 after 15 minutes…
Eight minutes into the second quarter and Spain have had so much possession, that South Africa have retreated to their own 23 metre line. They start to spread high, though, after winning a couple of free hits, but seem to be more about using pace and power to get forward, than any sort of technical incision. Three minutes later Lucia Jimenez feeds the ball to Carola Salvatella. She’s through, drives into the circle, looks to create an angle on the keeper, Phumelela Mbande, but by this time a South African defender has got back, jabbed the ball away and wins a free hit for a stick foul against her, as the Spanish player looks to shoot, but chops wood instead.
South Africa’s right winger drives into the Spanish circle, shoots, but sees her attempt saved. Jade Mayne gets the ball back and slips it to Ongeziwe Mali, who can’t quite tap it in at the near post, on the stretch. Another quick fire attack and Jade Mayne fires a shot in that is just wide of the keepers left post. The Africans are finally playing a bit of hockey. No goals for them though, as they can’t capitalise on their improvements. 2 – 0 Spain at half time.
It’s the first minute of second half and Bonastre fires a cross come shot from the left baseline, but Mbande cuts it out. Shortly after this, South Africa win a short corner, for a foot in the circle. It’s their first short of the game and they make the most of the opportunity. The first shot is blocked, but the rebound is scored. The decision is referred upstairs for use of the back of the stick, by the Spanish. The goal stands and Spain lose their referral. Kara-Lee Botes has gotten her team back into the game.
In the sixth minute, Spain win the ball in midfield, they move forward quickly, creating an attacking overload against the South African defence. The ball is played left to number Carlota Petchame. It’s fired across the goal, towards the far post. A Spanish attacker jumps towards it, but in an attempt to defend against the attack the South African defence turn it in themselves. It goes down as Petchame goal, however and Spain regain their two goal lead. Six minutes later, the ball is played square across the circle from the right hand side. It’s picked up easily by Petchame, who’s in loads of space, too much space. The keeper has to come off her line to cover it, but is done by a left to right drag from the Spanish player, who shots and scores her second of the game. It was maybe a little bit unfair on Mbande, who had such a good game in her last match, but I do wonder about her organisation of her defence, for leaving a player so open in her circle. Spain 4 – 1 South Africa.
Another drive to the baseline fro Spain, sees the ball dragged back for Carola Salvetella, who does well to not be put off by South African on rushing defenders and slots it home. Another Spanish player finding space in the African circle… It’s five goals to one after 45 minutes.
Three minutes into the fourth quarter, Candice Manuel is shown a green card… the foul eventually leads to a short corner for Spain, who take advantage of the extra player. Lola Riera recreates her earlier successful short corner, dragging it into the top corner.
A good feed into 10 from the right, leads to another short corner for the Spanish. They are really dominating now. I’m sensing that the South Africans have given up somewhat. The ball is injected out to Lola Riera again, who looks to drag flick it again, but buries it into first runner, Dirkie Chamberlain. Free hit out for S.A.
Five minutes remain of the match. Bonastre combines with her team mates down the left flank, finds herself with the ball in front of the left post and shoots. Short corner. Out to Riera, who everybody expects to shoot now, but she slips it back to Begona Garcia, the injector, who taps it in at the near post. The umpire refers it, for possibly not entering the goal at back board level, but the goal is given and it’s now 7 – 1 to Spain, which is the final score. A hell of a second half…