England had collected a single point in pool play (against New Zealand) before handsomely beating Egypt in cross-over, while Spain had lost their three pool games before narrowly edging Canada in cross-over.
Spain were first on the scoreboard in the 5th minute when Albert Beltran made the most of a bouncing ball in the circle that eluded a couple of English defenders. The Spaniards kept pushing and England were on the back foot for the first fifteen minutes of play. Harry Gibson in goal kept them afloat with a spectacular diving save but could not do much in the 19th minute on a penalty-corner well taken by Lluis Mercade.
England reacted well and had a penalty-corner of their own. They could not trap it but opened their tally a few minutes later by Christopher Proctor, deflecting in front of Spanish keeper Mario Fernandez Garin a hard cross from the right. England kept the upper hand until the end of the period but Spain still had their narrow one-goal lead going into the break.
England carried their momentum in second period and managed to come back on par in the 45th minute by their captain Andrew Bull on penalty-stroke. They sometimes had trouble containing the energetic runs of the Spanish forwards, led by an Albert Beltran, but the English defense was well backed by Harry Gibson, in fine form and making a stunning series of saves on three consecutive shots from very close range.
Neither team could take full control and play was animated. England had two chances on penalty-corners and another one on a wild scramble in front of goal-keeper Mario Fernandez Garin but it was Spain that finally broke the deadlock in the 68th minute by their captain Alejandro De Frutos on the follow-up of a mis-trapped penalty-corner. England immediately pulled their goal-keeper but could not bounce back and were left rueing all their missed opportunities.
Jon Bleby, Coach of the England Team said, “The team performed very poor in the first half and we made a lot of errors. There was lack of energy in fire in the players. Second half was very fine and the boys were fighting well. They showcased much better skills in the second half. We got our chances and performed well.”
Talking about the Team’s overall performance during the Tournament, he said, “Our team played well. Like any tournament some matches were good some were bad. The consistency of the team overall was average. The team has bright future with three to four player having the potential to move to the seniors’ team.”
Speaking post the win, Xavi Arnau, Coach of the Spain team said, “ We won today’s match but had hard luck in the tournament. Our performance in the first half of today’s match was not good but in second half team played very well. There were lot of learnings for the team players during this tournament which has increased their experience and will help them in future leagues and international matches.”