After a goalless opening period, second half strikes from captain Daniel Beale and his fellow Queenslander Dylan Wotherspoon sealed all three points and put the Burras a step closer to a quarter-final place with only Monday’s pool match against France to come.
National Junior Coach Paul Gaudoin said after the match that his side can play much better but saw positives in what he called a “poor” performance. “We didn’t play well,” he admitted.
“We played poorly and that’s something we’ll need to improve against France but it was great to grind out a win in those circumstances. I was pleased with how the players stuck with it for 70 minutes and proud that they continued to work hard. Our press was pleasing; we made Spain turn it over in good positions but we’re under no illusions we’ve got more to do. We’ll need to be better in the midfield and when we’ve got the ball we’ve got to be better with it.” he said.
Australians were all over the Spanish circle from the initial whistle but could not capitalize, including on a series of penalty-corners. Both teams had trouble settling in and there were a number of unforced errors and passes going stray for most of the period.
The best chance was for Spaniard Anton Parente, diving at full stretch on a long pass, but his deflection went marginally wide of the Australian post. Neither team could create a dangerous enough challenge and the break was reached on a goalless score.
Australia finally managed to score in the 38th minute by their captain Daniel Beale, finding the ball in a messy scramble in the circle after Spanish goalkeeper Mario Fernandez Garin stopped three shots in quick succession from close range. Spain had a chance on the next action on a penalty-corner (downgraded from a penalty-stroke after a video-referral) but Andrew Butturini was up to the task in the Australian goal.
Australia had most of ball possession but could not really take control. It is only in the 63rd minute that Dylan Wotherspoon found space in the circle to escape his marker and clinically slot the ball out of reach of Mario Fernandez Garin to give a more comfortable 2-goal cushion to the Kookaburras.
Spain had a desperate final surge but they could not come back. They were left with two losses in as many matches.
Speaking on their 2nd consecutive loss Spain Captain A Frutos said “it was a tough match today. We got good chances but were unable to convert them and somewhere lacked in our attack. It’s a difficult moment now in the tournament, but we need to continue and win our next game against Argentina tomorrow”.