The Vantage Black Sticks Women have held on for a 1-0 win over Spain in their opening match at the FIH World League Semi Final in Brussels.

It was a strong defensive effort from the Kiwis while a first half penalty corner proved the difference with Olivia Merry delivering the crucial strike.

Following on from last weeks four test series against Spain in Barcelona, the Black Sticks opened the match with high intensity against a familiar foe.

Spain held the bulk of possession in the first half but the Kiwis were organised and effective on defence to ward off the danger.

New Zealands goal came in the 19th minute from a penalty corner, which Merry received at the top of the circle and smashed a forehand shot low and into goal off a defenders stick.

The second half was a much more even affair with both sides creating half chances but neither able to convert anything onto the score sheet.

Head coach Mark Hager said while there were plenty of things to work on, it was pleasing to bank three points for a win.

"We started well early on but then allowed Spain to take control and they were all over us in the second quarter," he said.

"I was happy to see Liv convert that penalty corner - thats something that needed improving after our Spain series and it came at the right time today.

"Weve now got two days off before we play again which is good and bad, you like to get into a rhythm at tournaments but it also gives us more time to prepare for a tough game which will be played in hot conditions."

The Vantage Black Sticks now go into recovery mode ahead of their next clash against trans-Tasman rivals Australia at midnight this Saturday night (NZT), with live coverage on SKY Sport.

VANTAGE BLACK STICKS 1: (Olivia Merry)

SPAIN 0

Halftime: New Zealand 1-0


- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Hockey NZ