Olympic silver medalist Spain recovered from a slow start to beat South Africa 4-2 in the opening match of the men’s Hockey World Cup that began on Sunday under tight security.
South Africa, ranked 13th, stunned the Spanish defence twice in the first session to go in level at 2-2 at the interval, but the third-ranked Spain asserted its supremacy afterward.
Julian Hykes scored for South Africa in the 16th minute, dribbling into the striking circle before beating goalkeeper Francisco Cortes with a flick into the cage.
Spain hit back with goals from Ric Oliva in the 19th minute and David Alegre in the 21st to take the lead, but Ian Haley equalized for South Africa with a flash strike in the 30th minute.
Spain seized command in midfield in the second session, and Rodrigo Garza’s opportunistic strike put it ahead in the 45th minute. Pau Quemada rounded off the scoring with a drag flick penalty corner conversion in the 60th.