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Football

20th Aug 2023

Spain coach booed and left to dance on his own after World Cup win

Niall McIntyre

Glory is said to mask all disquiet but not even a World Cup could temper the muggy atmosphere that continues to surround the Spanish women’s football team.

La Roja defeated England 1-0 in Sydney to win their first ever women’s World Cup, with a first half goal from Olga Carmona proving the difference between the sides.

Having been played through by Mariona Caldentey, Carmona netted with a precise 29th minute finish that England wouldn’t recover from.

It led to heart-break for Sarina Wiegman’s side who, despite battling gamely, never really looked like breaking down a resolute Spanish rearguard.

And so Spain had done it.

Through all the tension, noise and talk of a divided camp behind the scenes – sound familiar ? It certainly should for Irish fans – they rose above it all to triumph on the field.

But even in their celebrations, as pointed out by journalists Jonathan Liew and Miguel Delaney, there were hints of unrest in the immediate aftermath of their World Cup final win.

The coaches celebrating together on the sideline, the players celebrating together on the field? Nothing overly strange there, perhaps, but a video of their head coach Jorge Vilda dancing on his own after the game certainly presented a more telling picture.

This is not a popular manager.

And the backstory is certainly worth pointing out.

For the past year, a player revolt has dominated any talk surrounding the Spanish women’s football team.

Irene Paredes, a Spanish football legend of almost 100 caps lifted the lid on the bubbling tensions after the Euros, when she called for systemic change of the Spanish Football Federation’s (RFEF) treatment of its women’s team.

Then in September, through the rumours that Jorge Vilda would be sacked, 15 Spanish players sent the federation emails asking not to be called up to the national team.

Aitana Bonmati, Mariona Caldentey, Ona Batlle, Patri Guijarro, Mapi Leon, Sandra Panos, Claudia Pina, Lola Gallardo, Ainhoa Moraza, Nerea Eizagirre, Amaiur Sarriegi, Lucia Garcia, Leila Ouahabi, Laia Aleixandri and Andrea Pereira were the players who sent the emails.

Concerns were expressed over training methods, treatment of players as well as facilities and overall welfare.

Only three of those 15 players mentioned above ended up as part of the squad for this World Cup, with some of the best players in the game, such as Barcelona’s Mapi Leon missing out on glory.

For a finish, the manager Vilda was booed by sections of the crowd as he collected his World Cup medal.

“It will be interesting to see what is said afterwards,” said former England player Karen Carney afterwards.

“Players want to win it for themselves. We don’t know what is going on behind the scenes, I’m sure more will come out.

“Right now they’re winners and that masks a lot of things,” she added.

Topics:

Spain