Players poured from the bench and onto the pitch. The coaching staff behind them were not too far away. Crowded with teammates who saved their dreams. Finally, a celebration together. They were able to release all the stress and tension of the past few days. The last three weeks of this World Cup. last year or so
Then, 95 seconds later, it all happened again. This time it wasn’t Sweden celebrating but Spain, a minute and a half after they convinced Rebecka Blomqvist’s goal to save both the game and the campaign. The Swede, the great survivor of this tournament, is leaving the team. They hardly had a chance to taste the feeling of relief before it was brutally and instantly extinguished.
It will then be Spain who will play their first ever World Cup final against either Australia or England in Sydney on Sunday thanks to a 2-1 victory in Auckland’s fog and drizzle. Considering the situation in which the team came to this tournament In the aftermath of the controversial years reproach and controversy The two sides have a rift that is difficult to separate without difficulty and is most likely temporarily yoked. Which in itself is a formidable achievement.
Spain’s talent was never in doubt. There is a reason FIFA’s technical committee, a group of ex-players tasked with assessing the tropes and trends of the tournament, considers Jorge Vilda’s Spain to be the most technically gifted among the final four of world football.
That’s not a big surprise. because in the end The great Barcelona have taken their small part to become a dominant force in European club football over the past three years. with Alexia Putellas, who holds the Ballon d’Or as the game’s best player. and teammate long assumed to be her heir, Aitana Bonmati.
Equally important throughout the last week. It also proved to be the player who popped up in possession — seemingly in the blink of an eye — to be the game’s brightest star.
Salma Paralluelo is the perfect blend of speed and technical success. Scored a goal for Spain to overtake the Netherlands in the quarterfinals. With nine minutes to play in this semifinal. It looks like she’s got another replay. instinctively sweep the house when the loose ball bounces towards her
Much harder to see is the morale of the team. empathy solidarity How much of a connection do these players feel to each other, to the coach, to the federation their team represents? which is still unknown
The official line, of course, is that it’s all water under the bridge: the complaints and frustrations that a few years ago caused 15 Spanish players, including several dignitaries, to refuse to “take the lead”. Representing their country is irrelevant. no more
Why it depends on who you ask. The federation and coaching staff would like to believe that they have been fixed. A more relaxed approach from Wilda and a more reasonable financial commitment from the Spanish authorities. The team now has a fully equipped support staff. including nutritionists and psychologists — have addressed players’ concerns.
Whether or not players see it that way is unclear. At various points during this tournament There are whispers that the truce in the Spanish team might best be described as uncomfortable. still have open wounds Scars that are hesitant to heal It seems that many players only use the rudest words.
What is certain is that whichever division remains will not affect their performance. Victory, of course, helped. Spain recovering from humiliation against Japan which is the climax of the group stage and narrowly came back to overtake Switzerland
Wilda’s side roused themselves from the frustrations of conceding an injury-time equalizer for the Netherlands and winning the game. Thanks to Paralluelo in extra time. “This team has learned from difficult situations,” Bonmatí said. “We know how to suffer. That’s what the team needs.”
The semi-finals are cast by the same mold. But this time, it was pure distilled and uncut. The game is refined, taut and rebellious, until Paralluelo strikes, a decisive technical style of Spain. It appeared to break the defiant resistance that had led Sweden ahead of the United States first. Then it was finally Japan.
With just three minutes of normal time remaining, Blomqvist pulled her team back from the edge of the field. resulting in a remarkably calm finish. in this situation to maintain the level of Sweden Spain’s players stared with glittering eyes at the grass. trying to summon energy to go through it again
‘We were able to fight again after we got the equalizer,’ says Wilda. ‘In spirit, with magic, the team continued to overcome obstacles.’ only But also the thought. “We can come back from that again,” she said, “because this is a team that can win anything.”
There’s an irony on how it happened. Set-pieces are, of course, Sweden’s secret weapon. A day before the game, Vilda gave a compliment — once slightly tinged. Perhaps by denying true beauty — to the opponent’s performance from a broken ball.
Although it was the corner that gave Spain a moment. It doesn’t send the ball into the penalty area hoping to play a percentage and weigh the odds in its favor. Instead of a quick, swift pass to full-back Olga Carmona, she touches herself and sets herself up. and send a quick shot At the outstretched arm of Sweden goalkeeper Cezira Musovic, it cuts the bar as it lands, rolling lightly behind the net.
It took 95 seconds to clear the field of cheerful Swedish players. to start a new game for Spain to work on the field beat a corner kick and scored the goal that led the country to the World Cup final for the first time. The coaching staff embraced in front of the bench.
during that time It’s very difficult to look at Spain and see such a divided team. “I’ve never experienced that before in football,” Carmona said. She might definitely come close. Spain was the only game of the highest glory from being world champions.
Achieve that, said Jenny Hermoso, the team’s striker. And you’ll have to smile “Nothing can be erased.” She won’t be the only one. Spain was united for the first time in a long time.
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