Spain’s women gave themselves a fighting chance of reaching the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games as they picked up a significant victory over higher ranked Germany 2-1.
Goals in the first 11 minutes from Cristina Guinea and Carola Salvatella set up the result and coach Adrian Lock said it was a just reward for his hard-working side.
“It was great. We have been working really hard through the tournament and maybe that bit of luck hasn’t gone our way. Today the goals went in early and the defensive work we have put in all tournament has paid off.
“We were on the verge of going out and knew we needed the win to have any chance of going through. We need a win against Korea and hopefully other things will go our way.”
Spain were denied direct qualification to the Games last summer in Valencia by Germany in dramatic fashion, conceding a late goal to send a quarter-final game at World League 3 to shoot-out which the Germans won.
Spain would later qualify through the back door but Lock says that performances like that one a year ago showed the level they can reach.
“It’s really important coming from where we are in the ranking to know we can beat higher ranked teams. We have played number 1, 4 and 6 in the world and Germany are eighth and we know they are a top nation, used to playing finals and being at the Olympics.
“But having played them in Valencia, giving them a really good game which we unfortunate not to win, it gives us that belief that we could win. That helps us through at the end when we under a bit of pressure.”
How they finish in the group is a little bit out of their hands but Lock is hopeful they will still be in with a shout when they play Korea in their final group game on Saturday.
“Korea will probably play a similar style to China, looking to counter attack and defending deep. Having won today, we can look forward with confidence, knowing we can compete. If we win and still don’t get through, we may end up being placed ninth which, coming from where we were in 2012 and 13, would still be an epic success.”