Canadians lose to Spain to return to Field Hockey World Cup after 28-year absence

Canada’s women’s field hockey team ended a 28-year absence from the World Cup with a 4-1 loss to co-hosts Spain in Friday’s tournament opener in Terrassa , in Spain.

Karli Johansen, a veteran defender from North Vancouver, British Columbia who has earned more than 150 caps, scored for Canada from a penalty corner in the 57th minute.

Belen Iglesias (fifth minute), Xantal Gine (21st), Maria Lopez (26th) and Begona Garcia (29th) scored for Spain, ranked seventh in the world against 15th for Canada.

Canada played at the last World Cup in 1994 in Dublin, which marked the last of six consecutive appearances at the tournament.

Canada’s best performance was silver in 1983 and bronze in 1986.

The Canadians have missed the last six World Cups since finishing 10th in 1994.

The 16-team tournament takes place in Terrassa, Spain, and Amsterdam.

Canada, drawn in Group C with Argentina, Spain and South Korea, will next face Korea (11th) and Argentina (3rd) at the Terrasa Olympic Stadium.

Terrassa, which hosted the 1992 Olympic hockey tournaments, will host the semi-finals, the third-place game and the final after the pool game.

Canada qualified for the World Cup in January with a 1-0 victory over the 15th-ranked United States in the bronze medal game at the Pan American Cup in Santiago, Chile.

Spain, who won bronze at the 2018 World Cup, automatically qualified as co-hosts.

Canada is sending back 15 of the 18 players who booked their World Cup ticket during the 2022 Pan American Cup qualifier.

Captain Natalie Sourisseau leads a veteran group that includes forwards Hannah Haughn, Brie Stairs and Maddie Secco and defensemen Johansen, Sara McManus and Shanlee Johnston.

Canada is coached by Rob Short, who has played for the Men’s National Team in two World Cups and two Olympic Games.

The World Cup runs until July 17.

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