BHUBANESWAR, Dec 3: Skipper and goalkeeper Quico Cortes led from the front with a superb penalty stroke save to help three-time medallist Spain eke out a hard-fought 1-1 draw against lowly France in their second Pool A match at the ongoing men�s hockey World Cup here on Monday.
The draw kept both the teams in the hunt for the knock-out round with one point apiece from two games.
It was a battle between World No. 8 Spain and the lowest ranked team of the competition France, who are ranked 20th, but it turned out to be a keenly-contested encounter as the Frenchmen gave their opponents a run for their money.
It was France who stunned the Spaniards in the sixth minute when Timothee Clement scored from a field effort.
But Spain came back strongly after the change of ends and restored parity in the 48th minute through Alvaro Iglesias� field strike. France had a golden opportunity to register their first major upset of the tournament but the Spain skipper Cortes came to his side�s rescue.
In the last 10 minutes, France were awarded a penalty stroke because of obstruction in front of the goal by a Spain defender after they went for video referral but Cortes made a brilliant save flying to his right to keep Hugo Genestet�s try at bay.
France could not have asked for a better chance to cause the first upset and pocket full three points from the game but was denied by Cortes� brilliance in front of the goal. � PTI