Ireland ladies’ game against Scotland on Saturday is their last chance to maintain their top European status, after losing 1-0 to Spain.
With only one place separating Ireland and Spain in the world rankings, it was always going to be close encounter.
Ireland had two early chances from penalty corners, but were unable to beat Lopez in the Spanish goal.
Spain came close to opening the scoring from their own penalty corner, but the experienced Nikki Symmons was there to take it off the line.
Anna O’Flanagan nearly put the Irish ahead, after intercepting a pass, she drove into the circle but had to ball taken out of her path just as she was about to shoot.
Somewhat against the run of play, Spain took the lead midway through the half. A great run down the left wing and cut back for Berta Bonastre to reverse bottom corner.
Moments later Emma Gray kept the score at 1-0 with a great reaction save from a close range shot.
Ireland were still dominating the majority of the play and almost brought the game level. O’Flanagan fed Gillian Pinder who shot just wide.
Into the second half and Ireland’s main attacking threat, O’Flanagan had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for a foul in the build-up.
Ireland’s best chance came from a crash ball into the circle from Symmons was deflected toward goal by Lisa Jacob, but again denied by Lopez.
The game finished 1-0. Ireland had good build-up play, but they just couldn’t find the finishing touch in the opposition circle.
After the game, head coach Darren Smith said: “Obviously [we are] disappointed, we fought hard and we knew it was going to close and tough
“We’re disappointed we didn’t get a result but if we had of [got a draw], it wouldn’t make a huge difference to Saturday. We’d still go into that Scotland game and need to win.
“At the moment, we have a couple of girls lacking a bit of confidence and are not on top of their game. We’ll work them hard.”