Sunday, 14 Apr 2024

Spain’s Journey Towards Women’s World Cup Glory

best spanish players

An ugly player revolt in the build-up to the Women’s World Cup had threatened to derail Spain’s campaign, but La Roja have enjoyed a deep run at the tournament despite major upheaval in their set-up.

In October, 15 players, known as “Las 15”, wrote to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) demanding changes to the national team set-up and made themselves unavailable for selection, directing the majority of their complaints at coach Jorge Vilda. The players denied calling for Vilda’s sacking, stating that they only wanted improvements in working conditions due to the impact on their emotional and physical health. However, the federation claimed otherwise and backed Vilda.

While naming his World Cup squad, Vilda included only three of those rebels – Mariona Caldentey, Ona Batlle, and Aitana Bonmati – as other high-profile players were left out. A new-look Spain headed to the World Cup under pressure but settled in quickly, registering comfortable wins over Costa Rica and Zambia. Their biggest challenge came in the game against Japan when they were outplayed in a 4-0 defeat. However, they bounced back with a 5-1 victory against Switzerland in the last 16 and a 2-1 quarter-final win over the Netherlands in extra time, booking their place in the semi-finals for the first time.

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Spain’s Strengths and Success

“Spain has one of the best teams they have ever had in their history,” says Laia Cervello Herrero, a Spanish football reporter for The Athletic. The team is comprised of great individual players who are excelling in their positions right now. This includes players like Bonmati, Batlle, and Paredes. Many of the main players on the national team also play for Barcelona, the Champions League champions. This continuity and familiarity with each other’s play have given Spain a strong foundation. Freelance writer Bea Redondo adds that Spain’s resolve and improvement in the knockout stages have been impressive. The team has shown an ability to put their differences behind them and focus on their goal.

Spain coach Jorge Vilda with Jennifer Hermoso during the press conference
Spain coach Jorge Vilda with Jennifer Hermoso during the press conference

Player Revolt and Team Unity

Speaking ahead of the semi-final, Vilda credited the Spanish federation for supporting the players during their revolt last year. He stated that without the backing of President Luis Rubiales, the team would not have made it so far. Despite this, it remains to be seen if the player revolt has truly ended. The players had complained about poor working conditions, lack of preparation, and unprofessionalism. It’s clear that the depth of talent in the team has helped Spain succeed. Bonmati, Paralluelo, and Batlle have played key roles in their campaign, along with the strong defensive midfielder Teresa Abelleira.

Challenges Ahead

Spain’s possession-based game is often dominant, but they have struggled to convert chances into goals. Clinical finishing will be crucial if they are to beat world number three Sweden and reach the final. Additionally, defensive weaknesses have arisen since the departure of Leon. The team has tried different players to fill this role, but none have matched the partnership that Leon had with Paredes.

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Aitana Bonmatí in action with Netherlands' Jackie Groenen
Aitana Bonmatí in action with Netherlands’ Jackie Groenen during the quarter-final

FAQs

Q: How far has Spain progressed in the Women’s World Cup?
A: Spain has reached the semi-finals for the first time in their history.

Q: What were the player complaints during the revolt?
A: The players complained about poor working conditions, lack of preparation, and unprofessionalism within the national team set-up.

Q: Who are the standout players for Spain?
A: Aitana Bonmati, Salma Paralluelo, Ona Batlle, and Teresa Abelleira have played important roles in Spain’s campaign.

Conclusion

Despite facing a player revolt and significant challenges, Spain has shown resilience and unity to reach the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup. With a talented squad and the ability to put their differences aside, La Roja is on the cusp of a momentous achievement. As they face Sweden in the semi-finals, their clinical finishing and defensive stability will be key to securing a place in the final. For more information on the Women’s World Cup and other football-related topics, visit Pesstatsdatabase.