Euro 2022 Women’s Team Guide #8: Spain | Women’s Euro 2022
This article is part of the Guardian’s Women’s Euro 2022 Expert Network, a cooperation between some of the top media organizations from the 16 countries that have qualified. theguardian.com is streaming daily previews from two countries ahead of the tournament which begins on July 6.
Spain had an excellent qualifying campaign. La Roja booked their place by finishing top of Group D, six points ahead of the Czech Republic. No one could approach the Spaniards. They have recorded seven wins, one draw and no losses, scoring 48 goals and conceding only once. A team dominated by Barcelona players, it was one that head coach Jorge Vilda was looking to make more direct than usual. The style paid off in the form of big wins such as the 10-0 and 13-0 thrashings of Moldova and Azerbaijan respectively.
“We are very happy and very proud of the work done by the players,” says Vilda. “We have qualified for the biggest continental competition, the Euros. It is an exploit. The way we handled it is also an achievement. There are high hopes for this team, and it all depends on how the players performed. We had some good results, but I would say we are contenders rather than favourites. There are other teams that are favourites; I will leave them this label.
Spain qualify for the Euros having already booked their ticket to the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year. For nine years, Spain has not missed a grand final, whether the Euro or the World Cup. Vilda’s team also moved up to seventh place in the world rankings – their highest position to date. The likes of Irene Paredes, Jenni Hermoso, Patri Guijarro, Aitana Bonmatí, Sandra Paños and Alexia Putellas have taken Spanish women’s football to the next level. It’s a team that commands respect, with big names known across Europe and the world. The arrival of the Real Madrid squad in 2020 has also played its part in the exponential growth of women’s football in Spain. Despite Hermoso losing to injury before the tournament, everything indicates that La Roja can make a big impact. England 2022 might just be the time and place for it.