Formidable Spain started their hockey World Cup campaign on a perfect note, outclassing lowly South Africa 4-2 in the inaugural match of the quadrennial event at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday.
Spain scored two goals in both the halves through Roc Oliva (19th minute), David Alegre (21st), Rodrigo Garza (46th) and Pau Quemada (60th) while for South Africa Julian Hykes (17th) and Ian Haley (29th) hit two goals in the first period.
The inaugural match of the mega-event was a fast-paced encounter and started with both Spain and South Africa making frequent inroads into the rival citadel.
However, it was South Africa who was the first to strike against run of the play through Julian, courtesy a lapse in concentration from Spanish defender Xavier Ribas.
But their joy was short-lived as Spain equalised two minutes later through Oliva's rebound after the Protea goalkeeper Erasmus Pieterse denied Pablo Amat the opportunity to drew parity.
Two minutes later, David made it 2-1 for the Spaniards from a goalmouth melee.
But to the shock of the third ranked Spaniards, Haley made it 2-2 just six minutes before the lemon break after custodian Francisco Cortes made a fine save from South Africa's second penalty corner.
Shocked with the half-time scoreline, Spain came out all attacking in the second period.
Their efforts bore fruit 11 minutes into the second half when Rodrigo Garza scored from a counter attack. The South Africans, however, protested against the goal and asked for the video referral, only to see the third umpire decision going against them.
The mighty Spaniards increased their lead, 10 minutes before the hooter, from their fourth penalty corner when Paul Quemada beat South African custodian Pieterse all ends up with his fierce dragflick.
With defeat lurking above their head, the South Africans lost their cool in the dying moments of the match as they pressed hard in search of goals.