Game 28 (M): 15:30, 3A SPAIN 9 2B AUSTRALIA 8
Quarters: 2-1, 3-1, 3-4, 1-2
Referees: Steven ROTSART (USA), Mario BRGULJAN (MNE)
Extra Man: ESP 2/9. AUS: 2/7
Pen: ESP: 1/1
SPAIN: Inaki AGUILAR, Mario GARCIA, Eric MARSAL, Francisco FERNANDEZ, Guillermo MOLINA, Marc MINGUELL (2), Mark ROCA, Albert ESPANOL, Xavier VALLES, Felipe PERRONE (3), Ivan PEREZ (1), Javier GARCIA (3), Daniel LOPEZ. Head Coach: Rafael AGUILAR.
AUSTRALIA: Joel DENNERLEY, Richard CAMPBELL (1), Mitchell BAIRD, Robbie MAITLAND, Anthony MARTIN (1), Aidan ROACH (2), Sam McGREGOR, Aaron YOUNGER (2), Gavin WOODS, Rhys HOWDEN (2), Billy MILLER, Luke QUINLIVAN. Coach: John FOX.
Spain, silver medallist in Rome two years ago, was on the verge of not making the top eight. However, a nail-biting final quarter came to a conclusion that pleased the Spanish but not the Aussie Sharks. Spain deserved the win on the strength of a magnificent first half of 5-2 and the first two goals of the second quarter for a massive 7-2 lead. GARCIA opened with the first two goals, one from penalty before ROACH responded. PEREZ, MINGUELL and PERRONE were on target in the second quarter with CAMPBELL the only Shark to reply. Spain looked unbeatable when MINGUELL and PERRONE repeated the dose in the third. Australia took a timeout and everything changed. The whole complexion of the game was turned on its head as the crowd sensed something spectacular. The underdog was gnashing at the Spaniards’ feet. The youngsters against the old heads. YOUNGER, ROACH and HOWDEN turned the scoreboard respectable for Australia but GARCIA nailed an extra-man goal at 0:49. HOWDEN, caught on the deep right, caught the ball, half turned and fired a wishful shot at the goal, slipping the ball into the bottom right under the arm of AGUILAR, 21 seconds from the final break and 8-6. YOUNGER, the youngest member of the Sharks in his 20th year, set himself for a foul and shot from five metres. Spanish head coach AGUILAR gained a yellow card. The game was red hot at 6:37. PERRONE converted a too-late extra-man play after some snappy cross-cage passing from the deep left for what appeared a safe 9-8 at 5:43. Australia gained an extra-man attack and the ball found MARTIN on the near post and he scored, bouncing the ball off the top of AGUILAR’s head — 9-8 and all the time in the world to overhaul Spain. By now, the Sharks had won the previous seven minutes 6-2. Both teams took a time out but neither could breach the defences. Australia looked hesitant with some shots and Spain just smothered, fighting for its life and a chance to make another world final. Australia played with just 12 on the roster as Tim CLELAND was struck out for a game after receiving a brutality foul in Friday’s round game with Serbia.