Following months of allegations and rumours, three of the fifteen players who said they would never play for Spain’s women’s national team again under Jorge Vilda have been included in his initial squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup announced today.
This season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League MVP, Aidana Bonmetti is among those returning in time for the Women’s World Cup. Ona Badle and Mariona Caldente, who have not played for Wilda since September, are back. And two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Butellas was not among those injured for much of the season. Fifteen refused to play but are believed to have shared their doubts.
Last fall, a senior international group known as the 'Los 15′ sent emails to everyone Spanish Confederation The (RFEF) says they do not want to be considered for selection for their women’s national team as the current situation has „significantly” affected their „emotional state” and „health”. They all resigned from the national team „unless it turns upside down”.
Individuals include some of the best players in the world – Patri Guijarro, Aidana Bomnati, Mabi Leon, Mariona Caldente, Sandra Banos and Claudia Pina (all from FC Barcelona), Lola Gallardo and Ainhoa Moraza (Atletico de Madrid), Nerea Eizaguirre and Amaiur Sarriegi (Real Sociedad). , Lucía García and Ona Batlle (Manchester United), Leila Ouahabi and Laia Aleixandri (Manchester City) and Andrea Pereira (Club America).
In their absence, Spain continued to win matches, including their first win against world champions USA in October. Two returning veterans, former captain Irene Paredes and all-time leading scorer Jenny Hermoso, returned to play under Wilda this spring.
Meanwhile there have been meetings between the RFEF’s director of women’s football and fifteen people, some of whom have come to the conclusion that it is easier to create change from within the organization from the outside. Among the changes made by the Federation, An economic fund was created by the RFEF „The RFEF has gone the extra mile to provide the best possible conditions for the footballers,” he said, noting that „the RFEF has gone the extra mile to fund the travel of players’ direct relatives and carers of their children to Australia and New Zealand for the duration of the tournament, and to find better solutions so that the players have the support of their closest circle during the championship.”
As part of the reconciliation process, George Wilda visited the training camps of players who refused to play under him. The final step came last month when those wanting to play again for Spain sent emails to the RFEF.
Four of the starting fifteen – Barcelona’s Mapi León, Patri Guijarro and Claudia Pina and Atlético’s Lola Gallardo – did not send a second email and were unavailable to the Wilda for the Women’s World Cup. Speaking to El Periodico In April, Mabi Lyon, widely acknowledged as one of the best center backs in the world, justified his continued inconsistency. „It’s not an anger for me, if someone believes that, they don’t understand anything about the message that is being sent, I have very clear things, I need some changes, and if those changes don’t happen, then I have to evaluate whether I want to continue the situation as it is or not.”
Not all recalled players were included in Wilda’s 30-man preliminary squad. Former UEFA goalkeeper of the year Sandra Banos was the most notable omission despite Vilda selecting four players in her position. Speaking to reporters after announcing his squad, he said, „The important thing is that the players in the list are committed to selection.”
Spain moved up to sixth in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings last week, equaling their highest ever ranking. Having reached the last sixteen of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, this time the draw seems to have given them a favorable path into the last eight of the tournament. They will play all their games up to the semi-finals in New Zealand, minus the travel.
Wilda will name its final 23-man squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals on Friday, June 30, after a home match against Panama on June 29. They will then play another warm-up match in Copenhagen on July 5 before traveling to Denmark. New Zealand will play against Costa Rica, Zambia and Japan in their group stage matches.
„Całkowity introwertyk. Nieprzejednany specjalista od sieci. Przyjazny fanatyk bekonu. Student ekstremalnych. Miłośnik piwa. Organizator.”