They had already made history getting into the top 4 after defeating Greece on penalties. But yesterday, with a great performance against Canada (12-10), the Spanish warriors showed their eagerness for more medals and clinched a spot on the final of the World Championships.
Spain dominated the game from start to finish, except for the last minutes of the fourth quarter, when Canada made a comeback up to 10-9, 4 minutes before the final whistle. Ana Gual and Bea Ortiz, as well as the goalkeeper Laura Ester, were the most valuable players of Miki Oca’s squad.
The defense that worked so well for Canada to defeat the Hungary, turned out a failure against Spain. The Spaniards realized from the first moment that one of the Canadian defenders was acting as second gatekeeper, leaving one Spanish player alone. Canada never took into account how good is Spain at long-distance shoots and Ortiz and Gual capitalized on that with 3 and 5 goals respectively.
Players that don’t usually have an important role scoring goals, stepped forward in this aspect. That was the case of Marta Bach or Clara Espar, who scored one goal each and paved the way of our warriors towards the final.
The United States is the very last obstacle until the gold medal. Next Friday at 20:30, the Spanish warriors will face the though American squad for second time on this World Championships. This time, though, they expect a different outcome, with the clear intention of repeating the gold medal that that they got 4 years ago in Barcelona. Yesterday’s victory positions Spain as the best team in Europe once again.
The Men’s team finished 9th place after defeating Japan (13-11). David Martin’s squad still has a lot more room for improvement. Next big challenge will be next year in the LEN European Championships in Barcelona.
Photo credit: FINA