Home turf and an Olympic-sized statement win for Spain as the co-hosts cruised to a 4-1 win over Canada in Terrassa. Next stop? A cauldron-like atmosphere expected on Sunday against Argentina, one of the World Cup favourites.
The Spanish cast aside the lengthy build-up and 30 years after the 1992 Olympics and instead unleashed their energy on a Canadian backline. The opening salvos were PC aplenty and a fourth-minute score, Belen Iglesias netting from a rebound, settled the nerves and set the scene for the opening night of this 15th World Cup.
Gine Xantal sent home a sweetly-struck shot in the 21st minute before Maria Lopez’s deflected shot off the top runner handed Canada a three-goal cushion.
Georgina Oliva, who will quit international hockey after this tournament, then underlined her world-class skills guided Begona Garcia towards goal and a fourth before the break.
With one foot off the gas, Canada began to make hay in the second-half and were rewarded when Karli Johansen netted three minutes from time.
“We have to learn from the lessons that this game leaves us to continue to grow, especially in defence. Against Argentina, that is key,” Spanish coach Adrian Lock told reporters.
“In the next match against Argentina the field will be full, with many Argentines as well. It will definitely be spectacular.”