FIH Pro League 2020, Germany vs Spain: Germany held its nerve in the shoot-out to win 4-3 in the FIH Pro League 2020 in Valencia on Friday. The match itself was a exciting and high tempo game, with Spain the stronger team, during the 60 minutes of match play.
A brace by experienced Christopher Ruhr, including a goal three minutes from the final whistle, helped Germany to end the regulation play at 2-2.Opening their FIH Pro League 2020 campaign, both Spain and Germany started on a promising note and shared some exciting moments and good hockey before settling down for penalty shootout to break the deadlock at Valencia on Friday.
It was Germany that took the lead in the third minute and again Germany that neutralised the lead three minutes before the final whistle. In between Spain not only restored parity in the 11th minute but also took the lead in the third quarter through a penalty corner. Despite a dramatic last second penalty corner appeal by Germany, the match finished all square, as the teams readied themselves for shoot-out.
At hat-time, Germany’s Head Coach Kais Al Saadi said: “The game has been good but not good enough. We have less possession than we would like.”
And Spain’s Frederic Soyez was in buoyant mood: “That was a good first half. We need to be more consistent and more clinical in attack.”
The end of the first half saw the match poised brilliantly for a highly charged second period. Germany enjoyed periods of dominance early in both quarters but Spain was more than proving a match with its quick counter attacks. Neither side had a sniff at goal in the second quarter as the game become a cat and mouse affair. Germany’s attack was being smothered by the Spanish defence but equally, Spain’s attack force was nullified by a strong and disciplined German defence.
Trailing by a goal, Spain came back strongly in the 11th minute. After a good penalty corner routine, David Alegre scores past Victor Aly to out the Red Sticks right back in the game(1-1) Earlier, Germany get off to the dream start as Christopher Ruhr latches onto a free ball and smashes home to give his team the lead (1-0).
A goal in the third minute was all the Germans wanted for early pressure. In the 38th minute, it was a great run by Josep Cunnil leads to penalty corner, which Pau Quemada dispatched with deadly accuracy to give Spain the lead (2-1). Seconds before the end of the third quarter, Germany drove hard into the circle to win their first penalty corner of the game. The resulting penalty corner saw confusion at the top of the circle and Spain were able to clear easily.
In the fourth and last quarter as the minutes tick by, Germany start to play long, probing passes in an attempt to by-pass the disciplined Spanish defensive lines. But the Red shirts were not prepared to provide any way through for the higher-ranked team. However, A wonderful run by Niklas Wellen led to Christopher Ruhr finding himself with space to drive the shot home. Could this be a real turning point in the game as Germany attack with renewed confidence and made the score 2-2 with three minutes left on the clock.
In the women’s section, the game between the hosts USA and the visiting Netherlands was cancelled as a mark of respect for, and to pay tribute to, US National Teams Manager Larry Amar, who passed away this week whilst with the US Women’s Team. To provide support to the US team at this particularly painful time, the International Hockey Federation (FIH), USA Field Hockey and the Royal Dutch Hockey Association (KNHB) jointly decided to cancel the first match of the upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League double-header between USA and the Netherlands initially scheduled for today (January 24), at Karen Shelton Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, it was decided to dedicate it to Larry Amar.
However, the second match, planned for Sunday January 26 at the same venue, would be played as scheduled. In accordance with the League’s regulations for a cancelled match, the points of this match will count double (6 points for the winning team, no point for the losing team; in case of a shoot-out, the team winning the shoot-out will get 4 points and the losing team 2 points).