Spain beats Canada in gold-medal game at FIH Women’s Series Finals

Spain 4 Canada 2

VALENCIA, Spain — Canada finished second at the FIH Series Finals field hockey tournament after a 4-2 loss to host Spain on Thursday.

But the Canadian women advanced to an Olympic qualifying playoff later this year by virtue of making the final of the eight-country tournament.

The Canadian women are ranked 21st in the world, compared to No. 7 for Spain. The two teams had tied 1-1 in the preliminary round.

Sara McManus and Brienne Stairs scored for Canada. Marta Segu, Clara Ycart, Lola Riera and Carmen Cano accounted for Spain’s goals.

Stairs, from Kitchener, Ont., finished as the tournament’s top scorer with eight goals. Victoria’s Anna Mollenhauer was named the tournament’s top young player.

The winner of the Pan American Games, which open on July 26 in Lima, will also head to the 2020 Tokyo Games. But that competition features No. 4 Argentina, the 12th-ranked Americans and No. 16 Chile.

The loss of Own The Podium funding plus Field Hockey Canada’s financial problems meant the Canadian women had to turn to a crowdfunding campaign to get to Spain. The fundraising produced some $81,000.

A private donor paid for the team’s week-long camp in Victoria ahead of the Spain tournament.

The Canadian men, ranked 10th in the world, are heading to their own playoff after winning the FIH Series Finals in May with a 3-2 victory over host Malaysia, ranked 13th. They can also qualify via the Pan American Games, although Olympic champion Argentina, currently ranked fourth, stands in their way.

Own The Podium money helped pay for the men’s trip to Malaysia.

The men will play host to their playoff qualifier, likely against a team ranked 14th through 16th, at their West Vancouver, B.C., training base.

The Canadian women, because of their world ranking, will likely have to travel to their Olympic qualifying playoff. The women have sat out the last six Olympics, last competing in 1992 when they finished seventh in Barcelona.

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