Following on from Spain’s Cyprus Cup final win over Italy, we spoke to goalscorer, Patri Guijarro about the frustration of not scoring and the importance of Spain’s upcoming matches.
Still just 19-years-old, Guijarro is already well known to fans across Spain for her eye-catching football not just domestically with Barcelona but as a youth international, a cornerstone in the U-17 and U-19 teams that’ve enjoyed huge successes at major tournaments in recent years. Now a regular in Fran Sánchez’ star-studded Barca team, the young attacker has remained humble, still surprised when she gets the nod from Spain [senior] coach, Jorge Vilda.
“I have never expected to be in the starting eleven because it’s such a wonderful team but I’m happy, Jorge has trusted in me and I’m going to continue working really hard to be in the squads.”
Given confidence by Vilda’s faith in her, the Palma native remains studious in training, to always learn and grow from those around her.
“I have been always worked the same, it doesn’t matter whether I’m part of the starting eleven or not, from the beginning I’ve always tried to learn from the best, and I’m going to continue like this and do whatever the coach tells me to do.”
After Amanda Sampedro’s opener, Italy began to find their feet in the final, Guijarro’s late goal enough to extinguish any hope of a comeback for the Azzurre.
“It was an important goal to give us confidence and it was also important because of when it came in the match.”
Frustration in front of goal
Against an Italy side who never really got going, Spain looked assert themselves from the get-go, refusing to give their opposition an inch.
“Of course, Italy is always a powerful team but we have done great, they were uncomfortable on the pitch and we competed really well.”
Reminiscent of their performances at the Euros last summer, Spain routinely dominated their matches in Cyprus, though struggling to put the ball in the back of the net despite their chances saw La Roja make hard work for themselves. Their goals in Larnaca more scrappy than stylish.
“We have felt the same in other games, the final was difficult, it was such an important game. We did better in the second half and took advantage of our opportunities and we finally won the game.”
Following on from a disappointing Euros, Spain sit atop their World Cup qualification group, odds on favourites to automatically progress to the tournament in France next year, though the attacker knows they’ll not be given an easy ride,
“The game against the Netherlands and the games at this tournament have given us confidence ahead of the qualifiers in April. We know the games against Finland and Austria are going to be tough but it’s important to win them.”
Beginning to find herself on the scoresheet for La Roja with an increasing frequency, Guijarro’s contribution was firmly felt in their last qualifying game in her Balearic home, the crowd erupting with noise when the teenager fired Sampedro’s cross home sixteen minutes into the tie,
“It was a special game for me, I was so so happy because all my family were there in the stadium and it was such a powerful goal and we played a great game.”