[India], Dec 3 (ANI): France and Spain on Monday showcased their valiant efforts on the turf, ending as a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the ongoing Men's Hockey World Cup here at the Kalinga Stadium.
Timothee Clement's sixth-minute goal for France was cancelled out by Spain's Alvaro Iglesias in the 48th minute of the match.
In the first quarter, Spain's Vincenc Ruiz made the first attack as he stole the ball on the left side, but a clash of sticks inside the penalty area dismissed their hope to take the lead. In the sixth minute, France, ranked world number 20, took an early lead with a goal by Clement.
In the 14th minute, Spain's Enrique Gonzalez won a penalty corner, which was thwarted by French skipper Victor Charlet, however, the umpire awarded the Spanish side a second corner. But another clever deflection of Pau Quemada's drag flick by Charlet easily avoided the danger for France before the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Spain won another penalty corner, third of the match, but Quemada's drag flick was blocked brilliantly by French goalkeeper Arthur Thieffry. In the 27th minute, Gaspard Baumgarten almost doubled France's lead as Pieter Van Straaten got to the baseline from the left and passed it to Baumgarten, who could not lift his shot over the Spanish goalkeeper. At halftime, France maintained the upper hand against their higher-ranked opponents.
The French players held onto their slim lead with some persistent defending, and the third quarter ended with three failed penalty corners for Spain.
With every passing minute, France looked more assured until the 48th minute, when Alvaro Iglesias clinched the equalizer for Spain in the final quarter to level things up.
As the well-matched clash turned into an end-to-end stuff, France got a penalty stroke in the 51st minute. But Spanish goalkeeper and captain Quico Cortes, who has 269 international caps to his name, used all his experience and made the right guess to push the ball away with his left glove to end the match in all squares.
Spain will next take on New Zealand, while France will lock horns against Argentina in their final Pool A league on December 6. (ANI)