The Vantage Black Sticks Women have been beaten 2-1 by hosts Spain in the first of four tests in Barcelona.

It was a challenging match for the Kiwis, who arrived in the heat of Europe just two days earlier.

Spain controlled much of the match in front of a vocal home crowd, in a clash which marked 25 years since the Spanish won an Olympic gold medal at the 1992 Games.

The hosts started well and opened the scoring in the 15th minute through a reverse shot at goal from Belen Iglesias.

The second quarter was much tighter and after Spain doubled their lead, the Black Sticks responded thanks to a Kirsten Pearce field goal in the 20th minute.

New Zealand battled hard in the second half but were unable to convert any chances into points in a goalless 30 minutes of play.

Black Sticks assistant coach Sean Dancer said it was a scrappy performance in tough conditions.

"Spain dominated large patches of the game today and as a team we were unable to control them well," he said.

"We are looking forward to resting up, re-grouping and coming out with something to prove for tomorrows challenge."

The Vantage Black Sticks play Spain in the second test at 6am Monday morning (NZT).

The four test series is part of New Zealands build-up for the FIH World League Semi Final in Brussels from 21 June - 2 July.

VANTAGE BLACK STICKS 1: (Kirsten Pearce)

SPAIN 2: (Belen Iglesias, Berta Bonastre)

Halftime: Spain 2-1

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