GREAT BRITAIN moved into the Olympic women's hockey, semi-finals and a step closer to a medal, after easing past Spain 3-1 in Deodoro to set up a clash against New Zealand on Wednesday.
Britain's sixth successive win of the competition was never in doubt as they dominated their opponents from the opening exchanges and never looked back.
Goals by Georgie Twigg, Maidenhead's Helen Richardson-Walsh and Lily Owsley gave Britain a 3-0 interval lead, with the London 2012 bronze medallists in clinical form.
Britain went into the game as firm favourites, given that Spain only made the last eight after finishing fourth in their pool, and they exerted intense early pressure.
An opening penalty corner after just 20 seconds was followed by two more in quick succession, and Britain went ahead when Twigg's rasping shot flew past Spain goalkeeper Maria Lopez de Eguilaz.
The Spain keeper's opposite number Maddie Hinch had little to do on her 100th international appearance, and Britain extended their lead just before the end of a one-sided opening period.
Sophie Bray ran strongly down the left wing, and her precision cross was nudged home by Richardson-Walsh.
Spain already looked to be in little more than damage-limitation mode, and Britain added a third goal by half-time when Owsley finished off another crisp move.
Spain managed to keep Britain out during the third period - they were unlucky not to cut the deficit when a shot hit the post - and then Georgina Oliva claimed a consolation goal with eight minutes left.
And although Spain enjoyed territorial control during the closing minutes, Britain had done enough to march on in the tournament and keep their medal quest firmly on course.
Goal-scorer Twigg said afterwards: "It was a really good performance, especially first-half.
"We kind of made it a little bit tense at the end, but to get to the semi-finals is a dream come true.
"We are taking each game as it comes, and we have won each one, so hopefully we can keep that going.
"We know that New Zealand are challenge. We've played them quite a lot in the last year or so. They are a fast team with some good individual players.
"We definitely want to get into that final.
"Four years ago, it was fantastic to get bronze, but we have come here to do better."
And captain Kate Richardson-Walsh added: "Overall, it was a dominant display. "The first five minutes we absolutely went at them."