Spain played their second match in this SheBelieves Cup against the host team and lost, but only by one goal. Julie Ertz’s goal in the 87 minutes was an extreme punishment for Jorge Vilda’s side that fought until the end.
The last three fixtures between the United States and Spain have finished in the same way, but this result showed a huge improvement from the newly invited squad.
Signs of nervousness were visible from the start as Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd lead the most important attacks. Spain played their famous ‘tiki-taka’ and managed to create occasions, especially when Jenni Hermoso headed the ball against the post.
The second half offered identical goal possibilities from both sides and the United States had their say in a side foul kicked by Christen Press.
Vlatko Andonovski, coaching the team since October after Jill Ellis, was trying hard. The captain Rapinoe was making Spain’s defense suffer with her attempts.
Vilda prepared the match in order to make the locals uncomfortable and change their way of playing. And it really happened.
At the end of the match, both Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn praised Spain’s game and their control of the ball. Rapinoe admitted that the team needs to improve its effectiveness and when that happens they will become a difficult team to beat.
With this result, the United States remains indicted and will face Japan on Thursday, while Spain stands in second place and plays England on Wednesday.
Vilda lined up every best player on the team, in what was a defensive strategy. Lucía García, Athletic Club’s striker, was the nice change in the initial XI after she scored two of the three goals against Japan.
The United States started with no changes, but Andonovski did surprise by taking Rapinoe off the pitch.
The captain and the best player of 2019, stated by her FIFA The Best and Ballon D’or, also thought the same thing leaving her place to Christen Press who later created United States’ goal.
The growth of the Spanish game
Megan Rapinoe argued the growth of women’s football in Spain saying that their level will be incredible if they continue playing as they do.
“It was difficult to beat them as their control of the ball was amazing.”
“We are playing against the best three teams in the world and we must be prepared for the level in Tokyo.”
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn highlighted Spain’s programme to impulse women’s football, as their progress as been notorious since the World Cup last year.
“We are used to controlling the game and it’s completely different when playing against Spain.”