The Hockeyroos have finished their impressive 2018 Women’s World Cup campaign in fourth spot after suffering a 3-1 loss to Spain in the bronze medal match in London on Sunday.
Australia had missed out on a place in the World Cup final following a shootout loss to the top-ranked Netherlands on Saturday and didn’t appear to be able to shake off that disappointment.
Spain, ranked 11th, raced to an early two-goal lead via Mario Lopez (11’) and Berta Bonastre (14’).
The fifth-ranked Hockeyroos responded when Kathryn Slattery tapped in from close range in the 40th minute, but Alicia Magaz’s 51st minute goal sealed the win and bronze for the Spaniards.
The result represents the third time that Australia have finished in fourth spot in World Cup history, while it’s Spain’s best-ever placing, having come fourth in 2006 on home turf.
Hockeyroos defender Jodie Kenny said: "It was extremely tough. We played a great match yesterday (against the Netherlands) and it was a shame we couldn’t replicate that match from yesterday.
"We were up and about ready for it and we were just outplayed. It’s extremely disappointing to go out fourth but in the overall scheme it’s a good effort from us.”
Kenny added: "I think there’s a lot to be proud of in how we played. We matched up against some of the best teams in the world and played some really amazing hockey. But we’re disappointed we couldn’t finish it at the business end.”
Spain started the better of the two sides and went ahead in the 11th minute when Lopez’s drag flick took a slight deflection off Kenny past goalkeeper Rachael Lynch.
Three minutes later, Spain were 2-0 up when Beatriz Perez broke on the right side of the circle, cutting back for Bonastre to sweep past a helpless Lynch.
Australia tried to rally but went into the main break with only one shot on goal registered.
Spain had their chances to go further ahead, with Lynch called on to save well from Magaz’s deft touch from Lola Riera’s powerful drive into the D in the 38th minute.
The Hockeyroos got one back in the 40thminute, shortly after Lucia Jimenez had been green carded, with Emily Hurtz passing to captain Emily Smith whose lobbed shot was goalbound with Slattery making sure of it.
Magaz tested Lynch on the stroke of three-quarter time, but the industrious Spanish attacker got her reward when she added the sealer in the 51st minute after good lead-up play by Perez again.
The latest FIH Hero World Rankings will be confirmed following the conclusion of the World Cup.
Australia 1 (Slattery 40’)
Spain 3 (Lopez 11’, Bonastre 14’, Magaz 51’)