In a stunning turn of events, Spain secured their first-ever Women’s World Cup final appearance with a 2-1 victory against Sweden. The script had predicted a decisive set piece to determine the outcome, but no one anticipated that it would be Spain who would come out on top. This unexpected twist sends a strong message to their potential opponents in the final, England and Australia. Spain has proven that their perceived weaknesses are non-existent – they are a force to be reckoned with.
Spain’s win not only showcased their strength and determination but also their ability to outwit their opponents. Sweden had been hailed for their ruthless ability to capitalize on set pieces, making it a central focus of the build-up to the match. However, it was Spain who ultimately prevailed in this aspect of the game. Teresa Abelleira’s astute observation led her to spot the unmarked Olga Carmona on the edge of Sweden’s penalty area. A swift short corner followed by Carmona’s controlled shot from 20 yards secured the victory. Spain had beaten Sweden at their own game, proving their tactical prowess.
Despite their triumph, Spain has had to combat doubt and scepticism throughout their journey. A 4-0 group-stage defeat against Japan and last October’s squad mutiny, where 15 players demanded changes behind the scenes, created a cloud of uncertainty around the team. Many questioned if they possessed the ability to prevail against formidable opponents such as Sweden, known for both their tactical prowess and physical strength. However, Spain’s dominance in possession, creation of scoring opportunities, and ability to withstand challenges have silenced the critics. They enter the final as favorites, irrespective of their opponent.
Spain’s success can be attributed to the collective effort of their players and the strategic decisions of coach Jorge Vilda. Goalkeeper Cata Coll, despite her inexperience, has showcased bravery and commitment. Defenders Olga Carmona and Ona Batlle have demonstrated poise and purpose, effectively dominating the flanks. With superstars like Alexia Putellas and Salma Paralluelo, Spain possesses game-changers capable of deciding the final with a moment of brilliance. However, Putellas’ fitness remains a concern as she recovers from an injury. Vilda must carefully assess whether she is fit enough to start or if it is best to have her as a substitute, as was the case in the quarterfinal against Netherlands.
Coach Vilda faces a dilemma with the rising star, Salma Paralluelo. Despite being a second-half substitute, she has proven her worth with goals in both the quarterfinal and semifinal. Her explosive pace and skill on the ball make her a devastating option off the bench. However, it may be time to consider starting Paralluelo in the final. The choice between Putellas and Paralluelo will depend on the formation Vilda selects for the match. Regardless, Spain is in a position of strength with good options at their disposal. Their talent is now matched by their belief and results, serving as a warning to England and Australia.
Spain’s journey to the Women’s World Cup final is a testament to their unwavering determination and resilience. They have overcome doubts, mutinies, and formidable opponents to reach this historic moment. The real deal, Spain has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in women’s football. Regardless of the outcome on Sunday, their achievements have solidified their place in the sport’s elite. The rise of La Roja is not just a victory for Spain but for the growth and progress of women’s football worldwide.