Maialen García tries to pass before a Canadian defender. Alejandro Garcia (EFE)
That was Spain at the opening of the World Cup to the misfortune of Canada, scorched by the offensive and resolute game of Adrian Lock's team, as successful in penalty-corners as successful in the offensive.
History said that the Canadians had a six to four advantage in direct duels, which was a selection to take into account even if it was defensive.
But Spain, which plays at home (in Terrassa and in front of some 3,000 fans), ruled otherwise.
And he did it in a big way.
The duel has already started well from the draw, as captain María López guessed the side of the coin and chose field.
Ball in play and declaration of intent as soon as it begins because for one minute and 20 seconds the
possession was shared, from side to side, although shallow.
The talented Gigi Oliva was almost always in charge of that, acting as glue with the lead, from above or below, drawing passes that almost always sought to uncheck Belén Iglesias.
As in that free kick that he took with a whip pass -dragging the stick along the ground- that Belén barely extended into the area.
But between little and nothing Canada could reply, clumsy in the preparation, sterile in the race and null in the shot.
The ball was Spanish and so were the chances, driven by the sprints and breaks of Lucía Jiménez, who took gold in every incursion she made, also from Belén Iglesias, a torment for the Canadian defense for being rebellious and skillful.
One, two and three times in a row Xantal Giné proved it with his shots in a succession of penalty-corners.
But he did not get away with it, deflected a shot, the defense and the goalkeeper were successful.
But on the fourth, also on a run, Xanti's shot -as they call him in the locker room- was deflected by a rival stick and picked up by Belén Iglesias, who threw herself to the ground to autograph the first goal, so that the public address would thunder
My big night
of Raphael, song chosen for the celebrations.
It wouldn't even be the last time.
Hannah Haugh, the forward with the most bite in Canada, was fighting against windmills, the only one to generate danger with her driving, at least one penalty-corner.
But she had no tutía before an entire Spain, much superior in all facets of the game.
None, in any case, as in the penalty-corners, because that's how two more goals came.
One was, of course, from Xantal, who almost didn't break and burn the nets
Oliver and Benji
the other, in his first shot, dry and tight, was from María López.
But Spain had more and, in a play in which the pieces came together -María López from the root, acceleration from Gigi and center from Lucía Jiménez-, Begoña García put the stick to close the first act with a landslide as authoritative as it was expressive .
Canada tried to recover by stretching the lines a bit, but lacked the ingenuity to break Spain down, to put the (anonymous last night) goalkeeper Laura Barrios in trouble.
The Spanish coach also rotated and distributed efforts and minutes and the pace dropped, even though Xantal almost scored another penalty-corner goal.
Only a spectacular save by Faiczak prevented it.
And more of the same happened in the last quarter, although Karli Johansen beat debutant Jana Martínez in a penalty-corner to make up the result against a Spain that already had its sights set on the next game -this Sunday at 9:30 p.m.-, in the electrifying duel against Las Leonas of Argentina, one of the great favorites.
Where legends are made
[where legends are made]”, could be read in the tartan that surrounded the blue grass field, the stadium in which the Spanish team won, in 1992, its only gold in an Olympic Games.
Now it is the World Cup and it is not known where this team will arrive, but in the debut they took an appetizer of caviar and oysters to their mouths, a game that places them as one of the teams to take into account in the fight for medals.
Canada already knows.
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