There is no end to Spain: Nations League champion half a year after winning the World Cup | Soccer | Sports

A long time ago, the Spanish federation decided to bet on an identity, on a recognizable football that involved possession of the ball and positional play, also on a pressure that was as energetic as it was advanced and on getting the ball clean from the roots. The idea was to face much more physical and, at that time, professional teams, taking refuge in second plays and individuality. The passage of time, patience and belief in the manual, however, made Spain’s proposal a good one, now with the same conditions as the others, although with more football. Much more. That is why the last World Cup was won and that is why it has won the League of Nations, also the Olympic pass and, incidentally, the applause and recognition of the ball planet. In the final at La Cartuja, a record attendance was also recorded for a national team match in Spain: 32,657 spectators.


Cata Coll, Olga Carmona, Irene Paredes, Ona Batlle, Laia Codina, Aitana Bonmatí, Jenni Hermoso, Laia Aleixandri, Mariona Caldentey, Salma Paralluelo and Athenea del Castillo



Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, Maëlle Lakrar, Griedge Mbock Bathy, Sakina Karchaoui, Élisa de Almeida, Amandine Henry, Grace Geyoro, Kadidiatou Diani, Selma Bacha, Eugénie Le Sommer and Marie-Antoinette Katoto

Goals 1-0 min. 31: Aitana Bonmatí. 2-0 min. 52: Marion Caldentey.

Referee Tess Olofsson

Yellow cards Ona Battle (55 minutes) and Kadidiatou Diani (65 minutes)

Former English striker Gary Lineker left an epitome for posterity in the 1990 World Cup in Italy after losing against Mannschaft in the semifinals: “Football is a sport in which they play 11 against 11 in which Germany always wins.” The same does not happen in football played by women, since the monarchy of the United States and the oligarchy shared by the Nordic countries – yes, also Germany – have been followed by the sovereignty of Spain, which also makes good the axiom that football Two teams play and the ball is never for the rival. The Netherlands suffered it in the semifinal and, with Aitana in front and also in the rival area, France suffered it in the final.

Hervé Renard’s team, a wise man of the national teams who decided to try his luck with the pigtailed ball, is defined by tactical rigor, based on physicality, tough in defense and electric in transitions. A granite block that hardly offers any cracks, that if the ball is stolen, it comes out shotgun on the counter, jets of football that chip anyone. Or almost. Because he couldn’t beat Spain, as Cruyffist as his game model is, so obedient to that phrase from Johan that summed up his book: “If you have the ball, you don’t need to defend, because there is only one ball…” . And with the selection it always has the color red.

It turns out that France was not burning the ball, but did not know what to do with it, repeating the trigger of trying to get it played from behind, entangled by Spain’s overwhelming pressure, as high as it was intense and well executed. So he had no choice but to look for the pass that would jump lines of pressure, a kind of oriented shot that always ended up in Paredes’ head and from there at the feet of his teammates. And with the ball between her boots, quarterback and lever that moves the world, there is no one better than Aitana, who is the most intelligent (and studious), the one with the Redonda between her eyebrows and the game in her head, always with beginning of torticollis because he keeps turning his neck to one side and twisting it to the other, making a mental sketch of where his and his rivals are. And without Tere Abelleira on the mat, still lacking rhythm due to injury, Aitana took a couple of steps back because she understood that she was required more in the engine room than in the rival area.

Aitana looked up and made the others play, equidistant passes on both sides: with Athenea standing out on the right, although Bacha was a dance partner with a flexible waist and turbos for legs; with Mariona pulling in to give space to Olga Carmona on the left, always so deep, stepping on the baseline like Pedro through her house. One of his crosses was caught by Salma, which did not end in a fluke target.

Aitana Bonmatí and Olga Carmona celebrate the first goal.
Aitana Bonmatí and Olga Carmona celebrate the first goal.Alejandro Ruesga

But Spain had one more touch to spare, the breaks barely came from the second line and the final pass was not given, the footballers lacking ingenuity – not footwork. So set pieces were a treasure and a remedy, a trick that Paredes almost didn’t do well after a corner. The same thing that Aleixandri intended before the intermission, a header that winked at the post. Although by then, Aitana had already said hers, capable of being the beginning and the end point of the collective game, as she went from behind to a lateral center from Carmona to send the ball to the net, to leave France stunned.

They intended the Blue give a turn to the attack, pressure and a higher defensive line, open wings and balls to Le Sommer so that from there the team would be significant. It was a sigh, an idea that soon turned into gossip. Because Spain once again kneaded the ball, yours-mine, open wings and punctual centers. On this occasion, it was from Athenea and the shot and the goal were from Mariona, the most clever.

With the ball under control and France sad – Renard’s changes were of no use – Spain fed off the atmosphere, the cheers and, why not, being the best. And these footballers have not paved the way because others came before and, despite receiving rejection and skepticism at best, they knew how to fight against what seemed impossible; But yes, with character and determination, also with the ball between their feet, they have known how to make it passable. Not only that, they have decorated it with laurels. Because these women do not dream but fulfill fantasies. Because they are not warriors or Barbies, they are soccer players; and, as they demonstrated last night, they are the best in Europe and the world.

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