They did. And they exult, congratulate each other together, then fall into each other’s arms again, the Spanish players, world champions without the slightest discussion after their final won with style against the English, this Sunday August 20, even if the score (1-0) is very narrow.
Amazing pictures. The girls in red are in the center of the lawn, letting their joy burst out, and on the edge of the sideline, an equivalent scene takes place, but with the men in blue tracksuits, those of the management who congratulate the player on his performance. Coach Jorge Vilda. Two scenes of the same jubilation, but separated, at least in the first seething moments after the final whistle.
Everyone comes out a winner
Yes, Spain are world champions with a close-knit collective, but a very alternating current that passes between the chief technician and his players. Similar scenes had occurred during the Absoluta campaign – the nickname of the Iberian selection – during this World Cup. To questions on the subject asked at a press conference, Jorge Vilda replied with an end of inadmissibility. It was not the time to explain the months of crisis affecting the selection before the World Cup and causing the decision of some important players not to join the Absoluta.
Results, after all, could make it all happen. The revolt of the players and the return to the group of certain rebels, who have returned but who certainly do not think less of it. They are champions, and whatever their opinions. The obstinacy of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) not to give in to the most radical, and the support maintained for the coach in office since 2015. The RFEF can now display the Women’s World Cup in its window, after that conquered by the men’s Roja in 2010.
Finally, the determination of Jorge Vilda himself, who did not keep a low profile but distinguished himself with a few strong choices, such as the tenure in the final of Salma Paralluelo, striker revelation of the tournament, in place of the doubles golden ball (in 2021 and 2022) Alexia Putellas. In a way, he takes his revenge, regardless of what happens next, when the time comes for a complete overhaul of the entire sequence.
On the way to professionalization
The fact remains that Spanish women’s football is also reaping the fruits of a determined sports policy in recent years. Because while some players felt they lacked consideration and contested progress that they found too slow, it is clear that the RFEF has mobilized to provide new means for the development of women’s football.
In five years, the number of licensees has thus increased from 40,000 to 100,000. A women’s professional league has been created from the 2022-2023 season, with a rather clever slogan in terms of communication: “Liga F; because without F, football is not written the same”. “A new era begins”could then applaud Beatriz Alvarez Mesa, the president of the new structure.
This birth went hand in hand with a sharp increase in television broadcasting rights for this Liga F. The previous contract with Spanish public television was for 3 million euros per season. For the next five years, these rights have been acquired by the British platform DAZN for 7 million euros annually.
Spanish government investment
The Spanish government is also committed behind the women’s football. Equivalent to the Ministry of Sports, the Higher Sports Council has guaranteed 18 million euros for clubs so that they can improve their reception facilities for players, and 5 million euros to accelerate the professionalization of the championship.
For the Absoluta, things have also improved since June 2022, and an agreement with the RFEF has aligned the premiums of internationals with those of gentlemen, offering them similar transport and accommodation conditions during the stay in selection. On this World Cup, the players could also have an envelope of €15,000 to bring their family to the antipodes.
Spain, in the end, is now committed to the same professionalization as that followed, for a few years, by the English… and which France is still waiting for. Two Champions Leagues in his bag (for Barcelona in 2021 and 2023), and now a World title confirm the right path. To be continued, for once.
A high-level World Cup
An intense match, with a commitment at all times, great chances and an outcome which consecrates the technically most advanced team of the event: the final between Spain and England offered a spectacle that perfectly summed up this 9th Women’s World Cup. A competition revealing a welcome and general rise in level, with the emergence of unexpected teams such as Morocco, eliminated in the round of 16 by France, or that of Colombia jostling the England team in the quarter-finals .
The passage from 24 to 32 teams, which worried some, is rather a success. Which resulted in the record sale of seats (1.8 million). Enough to make the competition profitable if we are to believe Gianni Infantino, the president of the International Federation, boasting a turnover of 520 million euros. The next host country will be designated in May 2024.