MILTON KENES, England – Injuries on the eve of the tournament, the double defeat of Alexia Putelas and Jenny Hermoso make it even harder to say what kind of Spain we will see in the final of this European Championship, but a 4-1 victory over Finland on Friday suggests it’s still a complete There is a package. Can prove.
Mannequin, the world’s best player – voted No. 1 by ESPN’s panel of experts last month – was in the stands of Stadium MK, breathing every moment from her seat in the third row adjacent to the dugout. He has seen his teammates spend most of the start of the game with the floor ball, just to come back with three excellent head goals and a penalty. This was Spain’s first comeback in women’s euro history.
Spain will then have to show versatility in Group B as they face eight-time winners Germany and Denmark in the 2017 final, described in Euro 2022 as the “Group of Death”. Favorite in the competition.
Much of the talk surrounding the build-up team has raised questions about whether Barcelona’s dominance at club level could be repeated – winning all 30 league matches last season (scoring 159 goals), reaching the last four Women’s Champions League finals. Reaching through three – at Camp Nine. With several players.
The team scored 48 goals in the qualifying round from manager George Wilde – no other team has scored more than this – but after Hermoso’s knee problem, an injury to Putel’s first cruciate ligament robbed Spain of their most powerful attackers. Which raised concerns about the strength of the team. In international finals, there were always fewer balls.
Without the lead pairing, Barcelona had seven players in Spain’s starting rankings, yet the same fear grew in 49 seconds as Finland took an amazing lead with the fastest goal in Euro women’s history.
Anna Westerland’s through-ball went to Linda Salstrom, who charged in the box before falling and found the net through the right-hand post of Spain goalkeeper Sandra Panos.
Spain looked confused for a moment, but Ayatana Bonmatti’s clever moves and midfield balls dominated the ball which put her side on par with Mariana Caldenti and made it difficult for Finland to advance.
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Catalonia equalized and completed but not adorned with complex, fluid football that is synonymous with their success: Caldenti swings into a corner in the 26th minute under the leadership of Irene Parades.
However, the determination they showed after Spain fell behind and made their first meaningful impression on the competition was justified – in fact the women in the Euro scored 364 minutes without a goal.
“When we saw how we started the game, we were surprised to lose a goal early,” Parades said. “But fortunately we have faith in our team, in the work we do every day, so we just tried and tried and in the end I think we deserve to win the game.
“But it’s not mentally easy to start the euro in such a bad way. In this team we showed mental strength. We can’t start like that again. “
The wait for the second goal was too short. Mapei Lyon took advantage of the space on the left to make an excellent cross swing, which Bonmati skillfully carried into the far corner and recreated Barcelona but was not generally expected.
Bonmati ran to the touchline to celebrate and kissed in the direction of Putelas, who had become acquainted before Hop’s departure, two close staff helping her get closer to her crutches, soon distracted by all emotions. ,
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Alexandri opened the scoring for Spain, but with 15 minutes left, Lucia Garcia came in third with a free-kick from Lyon, becoming the first player since Sweden to score a three-head goal in the women’s Euros. The team in July. 2013.
Finland were clearly tired in the second half, and when Marta Cardona was fouled in the box, Caldenti hit a spot-kick to give Spain the victory and qualify for his performance – and he won the Euro final for the first time. Scored four goals. ,
“We knew Finland was a team that could hurt us in transition,” said manager Wilda. “I never lost faith that we could get back into the game with our players and abilities.”
“They are very fluent and physically strong,” said Finland head coach Anna Signul. “Five years ago we played in Scotland in Spain, I think they have improved a lot and they have quality players. The players did very well. “
16,819 attendance – a record crowd for the Women’s Euro Games excluding the host nation – however, Spain’s performance did not go unnoticed. They were unpredictable in front of the goal and at times, if Finland could beat the press, the simple long ball in their defense was dangerously insecure.
But perfection can come later. Spain is under consideration for many of the winners of the tournament, yet there is some uncertainty about how they will look. That picture became a little clearer here – and there was a lot to like.