|March 22nd, 2012|
|11||Pool A||4:30pm||IRL - ESP||3 - 2 (2 - 1)||Final||x 25|
Ireland 3, Spain 2
Ireland secured its spot in Sunday’s final with a 3-2 win against Spain.
The demise of Spain at this qualification event has been a complete surprise as the Spanish came in as the top-seeded team at the tournament and favorites with a #11 place in the FIH World Ranking. Instead Spain’s offense sputtered in its last three games, as it’s scored just four goals in its last three games.
On the other side of the coin, Ireland has put in a steady, if not overly flashy performance at this Athlon Car Lease FIH Road to London tournament. Ireland’s consistency has been the key to its success, rolling to four wins in four games with a +13 goal differential.
Audrey O’Flynn led the Irish charge, scoring two Irish penalty corner goals in the first half. Her first effort came six minutes into the game , but was answered less than a minute later when Barbara Malda put in a reverse shot between the legs of the Irish goaltender.
Spain sparked to life after the goal and dominated the action, but couldn’t get the go-ahead tally. Instead, it was O’Flynn to give the Irish the lead at the break with a solid short corner flick.
Spain took itself out of contention in the second half with a breakdown in discipline taking card after card which thwarted any attempt at gaining momentum. Once they were back at even strength, the Spanish put pressure on the Irish, but Ireland’s captain Alexandra Speers put in the clinching goal with nine minutes left in game bringing the ball down the field and scoring the 3-1 goal. Spain put in a last-ditch effort to make things tense in the waning minutes, but ultimately Ireland hung on for the 3-2 win.
After the marker all Spain could do was watch the seconds on the clock tick away as their London 2012 dream has all but disappeared. If Belgium gets one point in its next two games, Spain is definitely out of the finals on Sunday.