01 Dec. 2023
Spain joined Brazil as the second team from Group G to progress to the main round at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, after sealing a 32:20 win against Ukraine.
Spain vs Ukraine 32:20 (16:12)
Spain had the early momentum by getting a three-goal lead, further extended with the help of the goalkeeper Mercedes Castellanos Soanez and right back Mireya Gonzalez Alvarez, as Ukraine failed to get anything going in attack, with Ambros Martin leaving his mark on Spain's defence, which proved to be too strong for their European counterparts.
Early in the match, it looked like Ukraine would have the same problem defensive-wise as they did against Brazil, but they kept the contest close taking the best out of Spain's seven-on-six game. "Las Guerreras'" nerves and the turnovers made it possible for Ukraine to score to empty goal and cut the gap to only four goals.
This was the exact copy/paste of “Las Guerreras” start to the game against Kazakhstan, when they were struggling with efficiency, but they delivered an almost perfect second half, easily creating the biggest gap in the match after 40 minutes, 21:14, with Ukraine finally failing to match Spain's output.
The 5:1 goal run for Spain forced Ukrainian head coach Vitaliy Andronov call for a time-out, as his side failed to keep up with the tough Spanish defence that was shifting all the way to the 10-metre line. But when Tamara Smbatian stopped finding a way to penetrate the Spanish defence by breakthroughs, the whole Ukrainian attack stopped working, as Smbatian scored only one goal in the second half, after putting six past Spain in the first half.
The score stretched out to 29:19, hitting the double-digits for the first time in the match, as Spain's gap grew until the end, when Ambros Martin's side took a clear 32:20.
Spain will fight for the first place in the group and a better starting point in the main round against Brazil, who won earlier against Kazakhstan. On the other hand, Ukraine will face Kazakhstan, in a battle for the last main round spot in this group in Frederikshavn.
hummel Player of the Match: Mireya Gonzalez Alvarez (Spain)