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Hockey World League Valencia: Tears of joy for Spain

June 11, 2015
There were very different emotions at the end of day two in Valencia at the Women's HWL Semi-Finals!

There were very different emotions at the end of day two in Valencia at the Women's HWL Semi-Finals. While Spain's Maria Lopez de Eguilaz declared herself "ready to cry,", China's Cui Qiuxia was near tears after the host team beat their Asian opponents in a tense 1-0 match.

In the earlier contest, Agustina Albertarrio’s hat trick helped Argentina cruise to a comprehensive 6-0 win over Canada to start their World League campaign in great style. "We found that tough," said Canada's Abigaye Raye after her team conceded six goals to their Pan-American rivals. "We will go away and re-focus for the next game. We have been a bit tentative in the opening two games, we need to play with a lot more confidence."

Florencia Habif opened the scoring 11 minutes in, and Albertarrio added her first three minutes later from a corner rebound. Noel Barrionuevo got in on the act soon after with a direct corner flick for 3-0. The second Albertarrio effort was a spectacular solo effort, beating the last defender before launching the ball into the roof of the net. Carla Rebecchi’s drag-flick accounted for the fifth goal while Albertarrio completed her triple in the 42nd minute from close range.

After the game, Albertarrio said: “We are really happy to win by such a big margin. As its only our first match, we want to keep building and building our performance but this was a good start. “I am really happy with my personal performance but, like I said, it is about the team and about us building on what we are doing.”

In the final match of the day, it was Lola Riera’s who was hero of the hour. Her brilliant low drag flick earned Spain their first win over China since 2006, ending a series of heavy defeats to the Asian side in battling fashion. She struck in the tenth minute in a fractious early spell, marked by plenty of corners.

Qian Yu went close to equalising from a corner-deflection move only for Maria Lopez to brilliantly save on the line from the pick of the other chances. Goalkeeper Maria Lopez de Eguilaz produce some similar heroics with an excellent double save to keep out Mengyu Wang first up and then produced another fine stop from the same foe soon after.

There was late drama when China thought they had earned a corner with 36 seconds remaining but they had one video review remaining and successfully argued for danger as Christina Guinea blocked a last ditch shot. They held on, becoming the fourth side in the group to sit on three points after day two of action in Pool A in Valencia.

China captain Cui Qiuxia was visibly disappointed as she spoke after the event: "That game is now finished and there is nothing we can do about it. Spain were strong, particularly in defence, and while our players played hard, they didn't score."

Maria Lopez de Eguilaz summed up her team's feelings after the game: “The last minute, I just wanted to cry. The final whistle, all the tension went away and I knew I didn’t have to do anymore. I am so happy; this was a really important game and we did what we had to do.

“Olympic qualification; this is why I am here! We came here to win; yesterday wasn’t the best game for us and we were a bit sad. But it is not how we start; it’s how we end!”

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