It was a must win match for Wales and this sense of occasion was clearly on display with a well matched and competitive first quarter for both sides.
The Spanish flair ultimately proved too much for the debutant Welsh side with Spain recording their first win in the tournament, whilst it was Wales' second loss in a row.
Wales’ first concession occurred early in the second quarter with Marc Reyne breaking the deadlock with a shot through Toby Reynolds-Cotterill’s legs. Spain’s second followed shortly after with an impressive run by Gerard Clapes to set up Spanish Captain Alvaro Iglesias who gets the final touch.
Reynolds-Cotterill was often under significant pressure and delivered some impressive, standout saves throughout the match. A mis-tackle by Draper saw the Welsh goalkeeper face his second penalty stroke of the tournament which was skied over the bar by Miralles.
There were strong attacking periods for Wales with multiple series of intricate short passes, but Wales failed to find that final connection to result in a shot on goal.
A low drag flick is slotted into the bottom right corner to secure Spain’s third, closely followed by a crafty fourth despite a Welsh referral for contact with a Spanish foot.
In the 53rd minute James Carson took a quick free hit and slides it towards the goal. What initially looked a bit off the far post was accidentally channelled into the net by a Spanish player but still sees the team record their first ever goal at a World Cup.
Spain further sealed the deal in the 57th minute with Miralles scoring an impressive final attempt over the Welsh goalkeeper.
Head Coach Danny Newcombe said:
“I’m really disappointed to lose that game, and we feel frustrated not to be closer on the score board. It was definitely a significantly improved performance from the group today. particularly in quarter 1 and quarter 4 where I thought we were competitive.
At this level we get punished when we switch off or make small errors and Spain were incredibly clinical today, they took their chances whereas we need to create more with the ball”
Wales’ history making goal scorer, James Carson reflects that:
“It was a surreal moment to score Wales’ first ever World Cup goal but there are mixed emotions given the score line, I would’ve like it to have contributed to a win for Wales. I want to keep pushing forward now and be involved in more goals in our next match to help secure a victory”
Wales now face India at 13:30 GMT on Thursday 19th