Iconic is an over-used word when you are talking about Luciana Aymar. Eight times FIH Player of the Year, ‘Lucha’ played for Argentina 376 times and led Las Leonas to two silver medals (Sydney 2000 and London 2012) and two bronze medals (Athens 2004and Beijing 2008) as well as countless other medals in major international competitions.
Possibly the moment that best sums up her influence on women’s hockey, particularly in Argentina, however was the ‘wonder goal’ that she scored in her team’s 2-0 victory over China in the 2010 World Cup in Rosario. It was a goal that stunned hockey audiences around the world as they watched Luciana weave her way through the China defence before slotting the ball home. It is also the goal that remains at the forefront of people’s memories even 11 years later.
In the third of the FIH Legendary Moments series, Luciana talks about the magical feeling of playing in front of a home crowd – she was actually from Rosario – and how intuition took over when she scored that goal.
“The reality is that it was an intuitive move. The Chinese players were coming one by one so I remember I started to have some empty space on the left. I was running towards that empty space. I remember that when I entered the area, suddenly the goalkeeper came towards me and I had two options…
“I could either shoot to the goal or pass the ball to my team mates for them to score. My team mates were all heavily marked so I had no option than to shoot to the goal. At that moment, I took the chance. The goalkeeper was coming towards me, I shot at her pads and I realised it was actually a goal while I was falling down.”
Luciana goes on to say that it was only when she watched the goal back after the match that she realised what a special goal it was. Now, she says, she remembers it as one of the best goals she has ever scored.
The match against China was the fourth of five pool matches. Argentina won all their pool B matches to set up a semi-final against Germany. This match they won 2-1, with goals from Luciana and Rosario Luchetti.
The final was against the Netherlands and this time it was another star of Las Leonas who was the goal-scoring hero as Carla Rebecchi fired home twice to seal the victory.
Speaking about the moment she lifted the trophy, Luciana says: “If you ask any of Las Leonas who played those type of tournaments they will always choose this World Cup  as one of the nicest competitions. It is a logical choice: you win a World Cup with your people, with your public. It is impossible to choose another one!”