Australia has finished fourth in the Hockey World Cup for the fourth time after being beaten 3-1 by a determined Spanish side who secured its best ever finish at the tournament.
Goals from Maria Lopez Garcia, Berta Bonastre and Alicia Margaz earned Spain victory and third place on Sunday, which improves on its previous best performance of a fourth-place finish at home in 2006.
The Hockeyroos scored only once with a 40th minute tap in from Kathryn Slattery, but it was not enough.
Hockeyroos defender Jodie Kenny says it was an extremely tough match after their close penalty shootout loss to the Netherlands on Saturday.
“It was a shame we couldn’t replicate that match,” she said.
“We were up and about ready for it and we were just outplayed. It’s extremely disappointing to end up fourth but in the overall scheme it’s a good effort from us.”
“I think there’s a lot to be proud of in how we played. We matched up against some of the best teams in the world and played some really amazing hockey. But we’re disappointed we couldn’t finish it at the business end.”
Spain started the stronger side and their first strike came when Lopez’s powerful drag flick was deflected slightly off Kenny and past Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch in the 11th minute.
Three minutes later Beatriz Perez broke into the right side of the circle before cutting back to Bonastre who easily swept in her third goal of the tournament.
Lynch was then forced into saving Magaz’s skillful touch off Lola Riera’s drive into the circle in the 38th minute.
Just after Spaniard Lucia Jimenez was green carded, Australia tried to find a way back into the game.
Hockeyroo Emily Hurtz found space to pass to Emily Smith who lobbed towards goal with Slattery helpfully tapping in in the 40th minute.
Magaz again tested Lynch on the stroke of three-quarter time, but the Spanish attacker could not be denied in 51st minute after Perez’s neat lead up play.