New Zealand men and Spain women won the second editions of the FIH Hockey Nations Cup. X @FIH_Hockey

Ireland missed out on promotion to the FIH Pro League after losing the Nations Cup Final to Spain in Terrassa. Second-quarter goals from Patricia Alvarez and Lola Riera secured a 2-0 victory for the hosts.

Ireland showcased attractive hockey throughout the tournament, defeating higher-ranked teams South Korea and New Zealand. However, they once again lacked a ruthless edge in front of goal when it mattered most. A similar scenario unfolded at the Olympic qualifiers in January, where Ireland missed out on qualification for the Paris Games after a goalless draw with Spain, ultimately losing in a shootout.

”It was definitely not the game that we that we wanted. I think at the end Spain was better so congratulations to them, they deserve the gold medal,” said Irish interim coach Facundo Quiroda.

“It was a really tough way back after the qualifiers and we needed to build the team. We needed to to feel competitive again and the girls worked really really hard over the last three months and especially in this tournament. Today we put up a fight and I'm really proud of what the guys have done. They are such an inspiration for a whole generation of young athletes in Ireland so the legacy of this team goes far beyond the silver medal.”


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">𝐒𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐙𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/%F0%9D%90%85%F0%9D%90%88%F0%9D%90%87%F0%9D%90%8F%F0%9D%90%AB%F0%9D%90%A8%F0%9D%90%8B%F0%9D%90%9E%F0%9D%90%9A%F0%9D%90%A0%F0%9D%90%AE%F0%9D%90%9E?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#𝐅𝐈𝐇𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐋𝐞𝐚𝐠𝐮𝐞</a> 𝐧𝐞𝐱𝐭 𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧. <br><br>𝐅𝐮𝐥𝐥-𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞: 𝐒𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝟐-𝟎 𝐈𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝<br><br>Goals from Lola Riera and Patricia Alvarez helped Spain beat Ireland to lift the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FIHNationsCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FIHNationsCup</a> at home.… <a href="https://t.co/AohuyfMNxJ">pic.twitter.com/AohuyfMNxJ</a></p>&mdash; International Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) <a href="https://twitter.com/FIH_Hockey/status/1799884430393364498?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 9, 2024</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>


Both teams struggled to break the deadlock in a goalless first quarter. Spain gained momentum in the second, with Laura Barrios' penalty corner saved by Irish goalkeeper Lizzie Murphy. The home side capitalised with two goals. Marta Segu's shot found the net after Murphy saved her initial attempts. Then, Lola Riera scored from a penalty corner just before halftime, giving Spain a 2-0 lead.

Spain defended their two-goal lead staunchly, making it difficult for Ireland to penetrate their defence. Despite a valiant effort from Katie McKee, resulting in a penalty corner opportunity, Ireland struggled to capitalise. Roisin Upton's drag flick in the final quarter was saved by Perez, sealing the defeat for Ireland.

This loss adds to Ireland's disappointment after narrowly missing out on Olympic and Pro League qualification this year. The team will need to regroup following this setback. A decision regarding Quiroda's future, who has been interim coach since Sean Dancer's departure, will need to be made.

Additionally, with no tournaments until the EuroHockey Championships and World Cup qualifiers in 2025, there may be further international retirements on the horizon.


Spain won the Nations Cup Final on home soil, meaning Ireland missed out on promotion to the FIH Pro League. X @FIH_Hockey
Spain won the Nations Cup Final on home soil, meaning Ireland missed out on promotion to the FIH Pro League. X @FIH_Hockey


Meanwhile, New Zealand secured victory in the FIH Hockey Men’s Nations Cup Poland 2023/24 by defeating France 4-3 in a shootout following a 1-1 draw in regular time. The final, featuring two teams bound for the Olympics in Paris, was anticipated to be closely contested.

This triumph not only boosts confidence and morale but also grants New Zealand the coveted ticket to the FIH Hockey Pro League for the upcoming season. New Zealand and France battled evenly for three quarters, with neither team finding the net despite several chances. 

The cautious approach prevailed. New Zealand broke the deadlock after 53 minutes, thanks to Hugo Inglis' skillful play on the right, setting up Jonty Elmes for a volleyed goal. France equalised three minutes before the end with Victor Charlet's penalty corner strike, leading to a shootout.

In the shootout, Leon Hayward's crucial saves against Timothee Clement and Brieuc Delemazure secured the trophy for New Zealand.


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐒𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/%F0%9D%90%85%F0%9D%90%88%F0%9D%90%87%F0%9D%90%8F%F0%9D%90%AB%F0%9D%90%A8%F0%9D%90%8B%F0%9D%90%9E%F0%9D%90%9A%F0%9D%90%A0%F0%9D%90%AE%F0%9D%90%9E?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#𝐅𝐈𝐇𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐋𝐞𝐚𝐠𝐮𝐞</a>!<br><br>𝐅𝐮𝐥𝐥-𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞: 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐙𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝟏-𝟏 𝐅𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 (𝐒𝐎: 𝟒-𝟑)<br><br>New Zealand were crowned champions of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FIHNationsCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FIHNationsCup</a> in shootout after a tough battle against Olympic hosts… <a href="https://t.co/y1xrRRyyAu">pic.twitter.com/y1xrRRyyAu</a></p>&mdash; International Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) <a href="https://twitter.com/FIH_Hockey/status/1799863540133892354?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 9, 2024</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>