• Home
  • News
  • Aussies suffer Spain setback

Aussies suffer Spain setback

8 August 2016

HOCKEY: Australia’s men’s hockey team fell to a surprise defeat to Spain in their second Pool A contest in Rio on Sunday evening, going down 1-0 to Alex Casasayas’ sixth-minute opener.

The result leaves the Aussie men third in the six-team pool, chasing a top four finish to ensure progression to the quarter finals.

The world number one side were prepared for 11th-ranked Spain to hold their ground in the encounter but they struggled to break down the Europeans, who defended in numbers.

Captain Mark Knowles and coach Graham Reid both spoke after the game about adapting to compete against such tactics and expressed their confidence in Australia’s ability to find form in the coming games.

“I’m very disappointed. The team is. We’re frustrated,” admitted Knowles.

“The coaches put a lot of effort into preparing for a quick turnaround and we just weren’t good enough.

“They [Spain] were very good, they were aggressive. They played that European style, the soccer stuff, and we just didn’t really adapt.

“We have to, we know that, because more and more teams are going to do that against us.

“It’s not ideal because we want to win every match we play, always.

“It could be a little wake-up call but we don’t need a wake-up call, we’re better than that.

“We’re the world’s best team for a reason and that was below our standards.”

Spain opened the scoring with their first attack of the contest. Andrew Mir found Marc Salles in the right channel and from his chipped cross Casasayas expertly manoeuvred his body to get the faintest of touches to the ball.

It was enough to direct it towards Andrew Charter’s goal, the goalkeeper unable to prevent it bobbling down and over the line. Casasayas had been on the field for just 41 seconds.

Australia’s best chances fell to Glenn Turner, who was twice denied in as many minutes by Francisco Cortes in goal for Spain early in the second quarter. Blake Govers’ lightning penalty corner flew wide shortly before half-time while Chris Ciriello was unable to execute two more corners.

In the third quarter, Turner and Govers combined before the ball hit Govers sliding in on Cortes, while Aran Zalewski blazed a tomahawk over the top.

Australia removed their goalkeeper to play Knowles as a kicking back – an 11th outfield player – for the final four minutes of the match but Spain held on to secure a memorable victory.

“Today we actually made some pretty good opportunities, we just couldn’t put the ball in the net,” said head coach, Graham Reid.

“That’s hockey, I think. [It’s a] disappointing result, obviously, but this is the Olympic Games and teams lift.

“Now it’s our turn to do so and that’s what I’ll be asking the boys to do over the next couple of days.”

Australia’s men face two big encounters in the coming days with Belgium on Tuesday (8:30pm Rio time Tuesday, 9 August, 9:30am AEST Wednesday 10 August) and Great Britain on Wednesday (8:30pm Rio time Tuesday, 10 August, 9:30am AEST Thursday, 11 August) in matches that will go a long way to determining the final positions in Pool A.

Lawrence West

olympics.com.au

Related News

Aussie Team selected for UCI Cycling Worlds Championships

Aussie Team selected for UCI Cycling Worlds Championships

21 September 2018

Cycling Australia was pleased to announce the BMX Freestyle selections for the Australian team which will contest the 2018 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in China in November, before BMX Freestyle Park makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

Australian Eventing Team qualifies for Tokyo 2020

Australian Eventing Team qualifies for Tokyo 2020

18 September 2018

The Australian Eventing Team have finished in 6th position at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tyron and qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Hockeyroos go down to Japan in Four Nations Final

Hockeyroos go down to Japan in Four Nations Final

17 September 2018

After winning all three group games, the Hockeyroos have suffered defeat in the Four Nations Final going down 2-1 to hosts, Japan, who came from behind in Ibaraki on Sunday afternoon.