In a game reminiscent of their earlier quarter final defeat to England, Australia were in control throughout but failed to find a way past a determined Spanish defence and ultimately lost out to one of their opponent’s rare shots on target.
The match was decided by a solitary penalty corner goal from Spain’s Cristina Guinea in the 23rd minute. And while the Jillaroos had their chances, particularly from penalty corners, they emerged goalless against opponents that had finished top of Pool D earlier in the tournament.
Australia began the fifth-sixth playoff in the same way as they had their previous matches, pressing Spain high up the pitch and winning a brace of early penalty corners. But in a half characterised by spells of Australian possession broken by quick attacking breaks, it was one of those breaks that resulted in the corner from which the Jillaroos fell behind to Guinea’s shot.
The second half saw Spain soaking up more Australian pressure with goalkeeper Mariona Girabent pulling off several blocks. With time ticking down as they pressed for the equaliser, Australia were caught out on the break with goalkeeper Audrey Smith conceding a penalty stroke with just six minutes remaining. However, the Queensland shot-stopper made amends with a simple right footed save from Spanish captain Berta Bonastre to keep alive the Jillaroos’ hopes.
Australia had one final opportunity to send the game to a shoot-out with a last minute penalty corner but it was well defended and the danger cleared.
The result sees Australia’s talented young side finish sixth as Spain clinch fifth spot.