Women’s World Cup scouting report: Spain

Spain Portraits – UEFA Women’s Euro England 2022

With the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand almost here, it is time to take a closer look at some of the main contenders.

[ MORE: 2023 Women’s World Cup schedule, how to watch live ]

Our next study is Spain, who finally made its World Cup debut in 2015 with a group stage exit before making it to the Round of 16 in 2019.

Hopes are very high for something even better this go-round, as Spain’s only loss since the end of EURO 2022 is a 3-2 defeat to Australia in Sydney at the 2023 Cup of Nations.

Presuming the side can stay focused after a couple of years with major off-field issues — several players either withdrew from consideration or were not selected after protesting their treatement by the federation — Spain could be a danger to any opponent.

Tactics and formation

Alexia Putellas will steer the ship in what could look like a 4-3-3 chock full of Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid players, and the side enters the tournament with plenty of shutouts on its docket. Spain is capable of choking off an attack and winning 1-0 or doubling up a talented opponent like it did in a 4-2 April friendly win over Norway in Ibiza.

The coach

Jorge Vilda is the most-accomplished coach in the Spanish national team’s history, with a pair of EURO quarterfinal losses and a World Cup ouster at the hands of the eventual champion USWNT. The 41-year-old steadily rose up the Spain YNT ranks after playing in the academies of Barcelona, Rayo Vallecano, and Real Madrid

Star player(s)

Alexia Putellas is incredible, the winner of back-to-back Ballons d’Or Féminin, but teammate Jennifer Hermoso is Spain’s all-time leading scorer and finished second to Putellas in the 2021 voting. Neither player participated at EURO thanks to knee injuries, and will be salivating at the chance to perform on this stage down under.

Expectations for the 2023 World Cup

This could go in any direction, but a forgiving group with Costa Rica and Zambia in addition to former champions Japan should book another knockout round berth. Individual and team brilliance can take Spain far, but it’s a bit of a stretch to call them contenders for the crown. Look for a quarterfinal berth, but it could be Sweden and the USWNT from that point forward.


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