Hungary had the mettle of Spain and led from the start, allowing Spain to level three times in the first half before pulling away to win 10-8 and book a spot in the semifinals.

The victory was remarkable for Hungary as it only finished third in its group with one win; Spain had two wins and was second in Group B.

Spain was lacklustre and while it took 35 shots at goal, Hungary needed only 27 attempts for the victory. Neither side had a good day on extra-man attack as the match was always heading Hungary’s way. Spain played much like against United States of America the previous night where the foul count also went against it.

“The quarterfinal is the most important game of a tournament. I tried to give my best and the team gave one of the best performances of this tournament. We will keep going tomorrow and after tomorrow. Our first aim was to make top four and our second a medal.”
By Attila Biro (HUN) — Head Coach

Hungary started strongly at 2-0 and was 3-2 ahead a minute from time before Spain levelled five seconds from the buzzer. Rebecca Parkes quickly snapped up a rebound to backhand the ball into goal to start the match and team-mate Krisztina Garda sent in the longest shot of the tournament so far — from 10m, skipping the ball into the bottom right.

The second period yielded just four goals with Hungary the major beneficiary. Captain Rita Keszthelyi gained some retribution from a disallowed goal — referee blew a simultaneous foul — when she moved in on the same play and netted to open the scoring. Anna Espar responded from the top, but two more Hungarian goals closed the half. It must be said that Hungarian goalkeeper Alda Magyari made two critical saves that could have meant a different result. In fact, by the end of the third quarter she had 11 saves in the bag, such was her fantastic contribution.

“We didn’t do our best game today. There were many problems in scoring. We created but we didn’t finish with goals. We have to look for better options to score goals.”
By Miki Oca (ESP) — head Coach

The third quarter was even, with Dorottya Szilagyi and Keszthelyi bookending two Anna Espar goals, leaving Hungary in the box seat at 8-6. Magyari gathered some of her best stops in the period. Clara Espar and Marta Bach left the match with three major fouls before the final break.

Hungary pushed the envelope to four goals as Greta Gurisatti, on extra, and Garda with a powerful skidding shot from the top, sent Spain to a timeout to arrest the slide. Bea Ortiz joined Clara Espar and Bach on the bench early in the period, adding to Spain’s woes. However, it shot back into the match through Roser Tarrago twice with two minutes left on the clock. This was some consolation for Tarrago as she failed to see the match out against USA the previous night. Spain went to a timeout for no reward inside the last 30 seconds and Hungary needlessly did the same at 0:13 with the plan to waste time, which proved the case.

Magyari, deservedly named player of the match, stopped an amazing 14 shots, which was a major factor in the victory.

Full match statistics —

Canada moved into the semifinals with an 11-3 margin over Kazakhstan, thus extending its winning run to four matches in Athens. It will now play Hungary for a spot in the gold-medal match.

Canada was not playing at its peak and will need to regain its momentum ahead of Friday’s semifinal. Kazakhstan played well in patches and will use that experience in the round 5-8 semifinal.

Canada controlled most of the first half with five unanswered goals in the first quarter and maintained the margin at halftime — The second period was far different from the first with the confidence brimming over for Canada while in the second it was hesitant and sent away low-percentage shots. Kazakhstan was struggling to score as well and it was not until 2:13 in the second that it connected with the net through Darya Roga. When Axel Crevier made it 6-0 at 2:53, it was nearly seven minutes since the previous goal, such was the defence/poor shots. Kazakhstan’s problem was having its shots channelled to goalkeeper Claire Wright too often.

“We’ve been preparing all year and with the circumstances of Covid it has given us time to improve. We’ve been training for the last year for this and the Olympics. We’re ready.”
By Hayley McKelvey (CAN) — Three goals and Player of the Match

The third spell was another close encounter in which Kazakhstan employed a very sharp extra-man play that dazzled before Anna Turova executed the final movement from dead in front. That was at 5:25 and it was not until 1:47 that Canada gained its sole goal, through Bekhazi from the penalty line. Canada blew several chances that could easily have been goals. However, the main aim is to win the match with as little effort as possible and Canada had it in the bag since quarter time.

Canada slammed in three goals at the top of the fourth period and at 10-2 the match was over as a spectacle. Both teams sprayed the goal for several attacks and misplaced passes again crept into the match. Bekhazi lobbed for 11-2, capturing her third goal. Earlier Hayley McKelvey initiated the final-quarter surge with a shot from wide left on extra for her third strike. It was enough to earn her player-of-match status. Kazakhstan called a timeout in the dying moments and Roga converted the extra-man chance for 11-3.

Full match statistics —