Most people are asleep or bleary-eyed at 5am on a Saturday morning. Not Spain coach Adrian Lock.
The 45-year-old Englishman, who had spent nearly a week cramped in his hotel room while communicating with the Spanish women’s team, was finally present to watch his side beat Japan 4-1 at the Tokyo Olympics to tee up a rematch of their Rio 2016 last-eight match with champions Great Britain.
With recent history in their favour in the form of two EuroHockey wins against the Brits in as many games, Spain could be trending towards a repeat of their famous 1992 gold medal in Barcelona.
“We are so happy to have him back. It gives us a big plus on the pitch,” said captain Maria Lopez Garcia.
“He came back this morning at 5am. We are so lucky to have him as our coach. It was extra motivation for us.”
Spain have now notched up three straight wins as they seek to improve on past Olympic results of eighth (2016), seventh (2008), 10th (2004), fourth (2000) and eighth (1996) since their moment in the sun nearly 30 years ago.
“I think we are ready. We have been improving in each game, and now we scored four goals. It gives us a lot of confidence going into the next game.
“We can improve everything, defence and scoring more goals. We need to be together and get stronger on defence from the first minute of the game.”