History is written by the winners. And today the Spanish write it, world champions after Aitana, the smartest in the class, stole the ball and handed it over to Tere Abelleira, the one who always skips the pressure lines, the one who understands long distance movement like a ramp to reach the goal. Exquisite control by Mariona and doubled by Olga Carmona on the left as the canons of the lane dictate, which she hit on the run, a dry and crossed shot, adjusted to the post and the net. Heroine in the semis, legend in the final against an England that tried, but she was left with the desire, electric, but without mordant.
Cata Coll, Olga Carmona, Laia Codina, Irene Paredes, Ona Batlle, Teresa Abelleira, Aitana Bonmatí, Jenni Hermoso, Salma Paralluelo, Alba Redondo and Mariona Caldentey
Mary Earps, Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright, Jess Carter, Keira Walsh, Lucy Bronze, Georgia Stanway, Rachel Daly, Lauren Hemp, Ella Toone y Alessia Russo
goals 1-0 min. 29: Olga Carmona.
Referee Tori I think
Yellow cards Lauren Hemp (min. 54) and Salma Paralluelo (min. 77)
Spain ruled the midfield and areas. She searched for the second insistently. He ran into Salma sticking into the kitchen with her long stride. And Jenni Hermoso even missed a penalty after a manual handball from Walsh that the referee reviewed over and over again. But the goal did not come.
The Red knew how to resist, however, to whom defeats have given character and know how to be, even though England put a Cata Coll in trouble that does not understand puppets or fears, a giant with gloves. She capitalized with her feet. This team cannot be understood without its cold blood to get the ball out. The football of this team, sometimes horizontal and leisurely, sometimes more vertical and dizzying, begins with it and pursues excellence in each pass. That’s how it wins. That’s how she became a champion.
Title for Spain that explains that soccer belongs to girls, of those who overcame prejudice and fought against inequality, of the same ones who asked for a turn —without much success— to play with the boys in the schoolyard, of those who they had to put up with insults for loving the ball, the kind that put up with amateurism and derisory conditions for years, also the kind that they have achieved with sweat and tenacity, and a great speech with their feet, take the sport to the top, to definitively change the world of the ball.
The path has not been easy, pieces of a puzzle that began in Benidorm, where they held the first concentration, to go through Avilés, Copenhagen and cross the world to Palmerston North, Wellington and Auckland in New Zealand; the Cup was finally lifted yesterday in Sydney.
Welcome to Peina [Bienvenida España] It was read on a large poster and in the Maori language at Massey University in Palmerston, the base camp of the team. But the greeting was, rather, the cold and the rain, in addition to the double sessions —in the morning on the grass and in the afternoon in the gym— until the tournament began. “The truth is that we hate Blanca a bit [Romero, la preparadora física] at the beginning, but then we have been very grateful for it”, admitted Laia Codina. Because that insistence on reinforcing the physical has led them to the title.
The initial whistle was given against Costa Rica (3-0), a duel in which Spain explained that they do not negotiate with their identity to amass the ball, but that they had a range of resources, such as taking 70 centers to finish off the game in the rival area, also at which time Salma Paralluelo appeared on the football planet. Then Zambia (5-0) paraded down the catwalk and the plan changed, as the spaces between the lines were successfully sought for Jenni Hermoso to show that she is a soccer player who plays with a top hat. Although the path was also winding because Japan and its low block were a slap against and without equal (0-4). But the Red was recomposed, with genius and character.
To get to the laurel there was a long way to go. Spain had never managed to overcome a tie in a major tournament. Switzerland was the first stone, one that they cracked with good football (5-1), the one that Aitana exudes to be the pacemaker of the team, the one that they all combined because joy had returned to the locker room, also confidence, and even reggaeton or the song Está por venir by Elena Farga, made for the World Cup and which they listened to on the bus before the matches.
As against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals (2-1 after extra time), Vilda’s revolution was already established, with Cata as the goalkeeper to the detriment of Misa, who played until the end of the group stage. In the semis, again in the last bars, again with Salma as an athlete with boots and a stiletto, he signed up for history. “We’re in the fucking World Cup final!” Jenni shouted while Vilda proudly repeated that her team had 23 Ballon d’Ors, all with minutes in the tournament except for third goalkeeper Enith Salón, all professionalism and camaraderie.
And England arrived, direct football and second plays, with Hemp with the hook and the rod ready. But La Roja denatured the group led by the magnificent Weigman, block together and team from top to bottom, also with Cata’s mittens. Spain, which had won everything in the last five years in the lower categories —seven Euro Cups and three World Cups— needed to make the leap. None greater than this, star on the shield, perennial glory.
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