The total football of Spain, champion of the Nations League | Soccer | Sports


Cata Coll, Spain’s goalkeeper, was seen more on social networks than on the field. The federation posted a video of what a day was like for the soccer player during the concentration, from the moment she opened her eyes until she snuggled back into bed. On the mat, however, she has only made three stops in the Nations League Final Four, barely challenged by the Netherlands and France. She was there but she was not needed, a sign of the superiority of the team, world champion and now also in Europe, with the ticket for the Games. “Spain is once again playing the football that we like well,” says Jennifer Hermoso. “This team is for big things, it has no ceiling,” adds Laia Codina. Although Markel Zubizarreta, sports director of the national team, adds: “Whoever says that we are perfect is lying. Not one, but several steps are missing. But it’s about being better every day.” Something that, once the foundations have been laid, the soccer players demonstrate in every match, in every title they win.


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 Batlle (min. 55) and Kadidiatou Diani (min. 65)

The ball is for Spain

Since the last World Cup began, the ball is red. Infallible axiom when the national team plays, also expressed in the Nations League, since against Holland the team had 57% possession and against France it reached 60%. “These players allow us to play that associative game that the spectator likes so much, in which they believe and through which we manage to control the game,” says coach Montse Tomé. “We have a very good generation that has the same way of understanding football,” agrees Paredes. “In the context of Spanish football, which is so associative, we have small players who play in small spaces and we are differential,” analyzes Markel. Although the requirement is a degree. “France took the ball away from us a little in the second half…” says Hermoso. “Maybe it wasn’t the best game with the ball,” Codina adds; “but we had it more and France ran and wore itself out.” Oihane concludes: “When we started to have the ball and control of the game, we breathed because we saw that it was going to move forward.” No sooner said than done.

Commanded pressure

Having the ball has not always been a sign of success: in the World Cup, Spain accumulated 77% of the ball against Japan and lost by four goals, a slap in the face that helped Tomé—then second to Jorge Vilda—to take note. “When we don’t have the ball we are a team with much more intensity and the players are clear about where, when and how they have to run. Before that cost us a little more,” says the coach. “The more intense we are, the more we push the teams and the more chances we have of winning,” says Oihane. “We want to bite, we are strong at recovering balls from the top and that, although sometimes it is a job that cannot be seen, gives us life,” Codina slides. It also happens that the pressure varies. “We are adapting and doing it well,” confirms Paredes. “Holland came out with three centre-backs, they wanted to press higher and tried to filter passes from the middle; and France did it with four and didn’t care about not having the ball,” Markel breaks down; “We wanted them to come out on the right, not to pass through either, and it worked out well, which allowed us to defend head-on and not run backwards.”

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Government in the areas

All the balls that the Netherlands and France sent into the area were cleared by Paredes and Codina, perhaps caught by Cata. Not only that, but Spain defended as a block. “In one of the last counterattacks, they gave us the ball behind the defense and we were all in the area after returning to the sprint,” praises Codina. The defensive generosity, punctuated with pressure, made Spain close the ramps to the goal, to the point that France did not take a shot on goal; Holland made three in the semi-final. “We have very strong centre-backs, with good footing. Furthermore, when we can put together passes, that allows us to defend away from the area and it is a luxury,” says Markel. On the other hand, Spain had 10 shots on goal and made five. Salma runs like no one else into space, Athenea is the break and the center, Mariona the pass filtered inside, Jenni the art on a tile and the shot, Aitana the arrival from the second line and, if all fails, the lanes are lights long. A lot of effort that is complemented by the replacement players, like Eva Navarro or Vicky López. “Those who come off the bench always contribute. Especially because each one knows their role. “We are all important,” Codina clarifies. And Jenni resolves: “We all know each other and we know what the other player needs without hardly speaking, and that is what a powerful team has at the top.”

physical equality

For decades, Spain played well, but could do nothing against much more physical and professional rivals. “I have been a player on that team that faced Germany and said ‘My goodness, our physique is our Achilles’ heel.’ Now not only has that fight been equaled, but we are with the best,” says Tomé. “I remember Barça’s first games with PSG and we didn’t win a duel by running, by crashing, by anything. A beastly step has been taken at a conditional level, you only had to see Aitana in the 90th minute with the ball and she left French rivals behind,” Markel remarks. “Or Mariona, who was flying in the final minutes. “All of them,” says Codina. “Physique is something we have been working on a lot in recent years. Against France, one of the most powerful, he has been noticed; We have nothing to envy anyone physically,” Paredes concludes. But Markel, in accordance with the demands of a champion team, completes: “This has served us until today, but it will not serve us tomorrow, so we have to continue improving.”

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2024-02-29 14:32:48
#total #football #Spain #champion #Nations #League #Soccer #Sports


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