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Spain shock Australia
September 08, 2006 00:42 IST
Spain asserted their supremacy over Australia with a deserving 3-1 victory in a Pool A match of the 11th FIH men's hockey World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany, on Thursday.
Earlier, England beat India 3-2, while Pakistan routed Japan 4-0.
The Spaniards, who had twice beaten Australia at last month's Champions Trophy, kept it tight through the 70 minutes and weathered a belated onslaught to pick three points from their opening league fixture.
Eduard Tubau (8th minute), Pol Amat (22nd) and Xaiver Ribas (42nd) put Spain on top before the Aussies, finalists in the 2002 World Cup and ranked No.2, opened their account in the 48th minute, when Troy Elder finally found the net from a penalty-corner.
The major difference between the two teams was Spanish goalkeeper Bernardino Herrera, who was outstanding and kept his team afloat with a series of brilliant saves.
The Aussies were given little respite from the start as the Spaniards launched waves of attacks marked by lightning runs on the flanks. With the Aussie defenders a touch slow to react, the Spanish forwards repeatedly broke into the circle to sustain pressure.
Overall, it was a fine outing for Spain, finalists in the inaugural World Cup in 1971 and again in 1998, while the Aussies, winners in 1986, appeared rather scratchy in comparison.