Tired, but dedicated to the cause. This is how the soccer players of the Spanish team arrived at their debut match in the Nations League. A party that started with a demand: “Our fight is a global fight.” And with the warmth of both the rival and the Swedish fans, which perfectly distinguishes that there are moments for everything: to applaud when the world champion team comes out to warm up, which has been in the news for a month for almost everything except for what ought; and to press, whistle and shout when the ball is rolling and the spirit is needed by their own. “The support is nice,” said Irene Paredes, who thanked the Swedish soccer players especially for the role: “We already mentioned it, it is not something that concerns only us, but all of us. What we have been able to hear from them is that they feel part of this. Let’s all go together.”
The behavior of the team led by Kosovare Asllani, days before the match, when they said that they would support the Spanish team even if they were considering boycotting the match, was pure brotherhood. “Sweden is always an exemplary team, for its game, but also as a society and for its culture. And they are a great team. We have thanked them because in the end, as the banner said, it is a global fight. They are supportive, that’s a pleasure,” added Mariona Caldentey, a striker on the wing, a protagonist both in finishing off her own plays and in stopping rival attacks.
A month after the outbreak known as Rubiales case, the players returned to playing soccer. And they felt wonderful. Finally. “It has been a long time since I have seen these players enjoy themselves so much,” said the national team coach, Montse Tomé, who was making her debut in the position. And she said she did not feel any pressure: “I had a lot of confidence in myself and my work. We have not been able to work. They have not allowed us to focus on football. “I just wanted to start working.” Her and everyone.
Did you feel liberated? “More than liberation, it is happiness. If we hadn’t won today we wouldn’t have anything to blame ourselves for,” Mariona assumed. “It wasn’t the best moment, we are not in the best conditions, but it is what we like, what frees us. We were more tired than usual, but we played very well. We know what we are here for. They have been hard days, but we have put special emphasis on resting and eating well. It is what we know how to do, we have enjoyed it,” said Irene Paredes, who has recovered the captain’s armband, the one she lost after the crisis. las 15 from a year ago, the one in which they began to ask for the same thing that they have begun to get now.
In reality, Paredes explained, since a new stage was opening, the players voted for the captaincy and Alexia came out ahead of her. “But hey, we already know what Alexia is. She asked me to take it and I thank her. For me the bracelet at the end is something symbolic. I will not act differently whether it is or not.”
Athenea del Castillo continues to be the protagonist
Athenea del Castillo was one of the players most in focus these days due to her position, unique within the national team, of not giving up the call and expressly asking to play to continue with the demands from within. Nobody else took that step among the World Cup players. And when the ball got rolling, she was also the protagonist. The 1-1 tie came from a shot from the front. “We’re finally playing again, which is what we all wanted,” she said at the end of the match.
“They have been difficult days for everyone. We were in a very complicated situation. In the end, we have shown that we are a great team, that we want to represent our country in the best way. As you have been able to see, we have given the maximum and we have emptied ourselves. I think it’s about that, about fighting until the end and trying to keep everything in this line, that the changes that are taking place continue and that the team is going to give everything,” he added.
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