Orange product Edwina Bone and her Hockeyroos have finished their impressive 2018 Women’s World Cup campaign in fourth spot after suffering a 3-1 loss to Spain in the bronze medal match in London on Sunday.
Australia had missed out on a place in the World Cup final following a tough shootout loss to the top-ranked Netherlands on Saturday and didn’t appear to be able to shake off that disappointment.
Spain, ranked 11th, raced to an early two-goal lead via Mario Lopez and Berta Bonastre, who scored in the 11th and 14th minutes respectively.
The fifth-ranked Hockeyroos responded when Kathryn Slattery tapped in from close range in the 40th minute, but Alicia Magaz’s 51st minute goal sealed the win and bronze for the Spaniards.
The result represents the third time that Australia have finished in fourth spot in World Cup history, while it’s Spain’s best-ever placing, having come fourth in 2006 on home turf.
“It was extremely tough. We played a great match (on Sunday against the Netherlands) and it was a shame we couldn’t replicate that,” Hockeyroos defender Jodie Kenny said.
“We were up and about ready for it and we were just outplayed. It’s extremely disappointing to end up fourth but in the overall scheme it’s a good effort from us.”
“I think there’s a lot to be proud of in how we played. We matched up against some of the best teams in the world and played some really amazing hockey. But we’re disappointed we couldn’t finish it at the business end.”
Spain started the better of the two sides and went ahead when Lopez’s drag flick took a slight deflection off Kenny past goalkeeper Rachael Lynch.
Three minutes later, Spain were 2-nil up when Beatriz Perez broke on the right side of the circle, cutting back for Bonastre to sweep past a helpless Lynch.
Australia tried to rally and were level on circle penetrations and possession but went into the main break with only one shot on goal registered.
Spain had their chances to go further ahead in the third, with Lynch called on to save well from Magaz’s deft touch from Lola Riera’s powerful drive into the D in the 38th minute.
The Hockeyroos got one back in the 40th minute, shortly after Lucia Jimenez had been green carded, with Emily Hurtz passing to captain Emily Smith whose lobbed shot was goalbound with Slattery making sure of it on the line.
Magaz tested Lynch on the stroke of three-quarter time, but the industrious Spanish attacker got her reward when she added the sealer in the 51st minute after good lead-up play by Perez again.