- He fell in extra time against favorite England in a very disputed match and showed that he could rub elbows with the elite
- Sarina Wiegman’s women will play the semifinals on Tuesday, July 26, against the winner of the duel between Sweden and Belgium
Spain is already in the elite. He has earned the respect of the world for his style of play, his character, for his competitive spirit. Yesterday in Brighton he was on the verge of the European dream after losing with honors to England, the hosts and great favorite to win ‘their’ Euro, with a hard-fought 2-1 defeat after extra time. The ‘Lionesses’ will meet in the semifinals, on Tuesday, July 26, the winner of the duel between Sweden and Belgium.
La Roja stood up unapologetically, just as she had announced. And it can boast of having been the only team capable of scoring against Sarina Wiegman’s team, until yesterday the only team along with Germany that had not yet conceded a goal in this tournament. He knew how to compete for one on one and show that this team has a long way to go.
Vilda was surprised with an unprecedented starting eleven, with the entry of Teresa Abelleira in midfield, a surprising decision when the Real Madrid player had not yet made her debut at this Euro. He also opted for Olga Carmona on the left side, for Leila Ouahabi, who had been a starter in the three games of the group stage, and for Marta Cardona, who scored the winning goal against Denmark, Mariona Caldentey and Esther González as ‘9’ pure in the line of attack.
Spain began with a strong desire to dominate the game, controlling the ball and looking for possession, faithful to their style of play. The first warning already came after three minutes with a very good opening by Patri Guijarro for the incorporation of Carmona from the left lane. The Real Madrid player put in a very pumped cross but the English goalkeeper Earps caught it easily.
England immediately had its response with great action from Lucy Bronze, Barça’s star signing, who offered flashes of his immense quality and how much he can contribute this season to the Barça team. The winger made a brilliant start after stealing the ball from Esther and covered practically the entire field with the ball under control, but Olga Carmona was very attentive to deny her advance.
Once again Spain was in danger with a corner taken by Mapi León, which Cardona took advantage of when she found herself alone at the far post to push it, but it was very forced and the ball went wide. Mead responded by taking a free kick from the wily England striker Ellen White, City’s ‘killer’, but her shot went wide.
However, it was difficult for him to hurt England, with a Lucy Bronze very well defended by Carmona and Abelleira and unable to find space. Spain, on the other hand, was increasingly comfortable. In the 16th minute, Earps easily caught Caldentey’s shot from outside the box.
It was clear that both teams wanted to have the ball, not in vain Spain is the leader in possession in this tournament with 66%, followed by the ‘Lionesses’ with 62%. After 20 minutes, a header by Patri Guijarro went over the crossbar and a shot by Marta Cardona after a great play by Aitana was deflected for a corner kick by English center-back Williamson. Earps then safely caught the corner thrown by Mapi León. Moments of great intensity and maximum pressure from both teams in a fast-paced duel.
Spain had much more presence in attack than England. Half an hour into the match, there was a great counterattack from Vilda’s team, through Cardona, who put in a spectacular cross that Esther miraculously missed. At minute 32, Aitana’s shot went high after his volley went over the crossbar.
The major scare came in the 36th minute when a goal was annulled by White, who picked up the loose ball in the area and shot Paños’ goal but was offside. The Spanish team had to be very attentive to the set pieces by the English. Mapi received the yellow at the edge of the break for cutting a counterattack. He left in the middle of the game with the game totally open.
Athenea del Castillo entered for Cardona in the second to give freshness and cheek to the attack and the bet could not have gone better. In the 51st minute, the Real Madrid striker entered like a dagger and put the pass back for Esther to finish off at will. White connection to have justice for Vilda’s insistence on the attack. The tall woman from Malaga, who suffered an ordeal of injuries until establishing herself in Real Madrid as a basic piece, cleared up all the doubts generated in the matches against Germany and Denmark and made her ownership very clear.
Sarina Wiegman‘s reaction to the goal was immediate: Kelly and Russo came on for Mead and White. A cross from Kelly had to be cleared by Aitana because the top scorer of the English National Team, Alessia Russo, appeared from behind. In the 65th minute, the very young and incisive Athenea responded, who left alone against Daly and Williamson and took out a center that was poisoning and was about to sneak into the English goal, if it were not for the Earps goal. The truth is that the entry of the Real Madrid player changed the panorama of the match. In minute 70, the surprise in eleven, Abelleira, retired, and Laia Alexandri entered her place.
A spectacular display by Athenea, who threw a tremendous shot at Daly, and put a center back, which neither Esther nor Mariona could reach. In the 75th minute, England’s clearest chance came when a dead ball was left inside the area, which Hemp sent up in an unbeatable position. Esther left the field to applause for Sheila García.
In the 81st minute, the equalizer came from Toone’s boots, who pushed the ball into the net after receiving the ball from Russo who beat three Spanish players from above. After reviewing a possible foul on Russo’s jump. The goal goes up to the scoreboard. A real hammer. England grew, spurred on by an overturned public and the injection of morale from the goal.
The match went into overtime with everything open, with a bundle of nerves for both teams. The emotion did not last long because in minute 96 a great goal by Stanway made the stadium deaf. The English midfielder advanced alone and released an unappealable shoe from a distance.
In the 99th minute, Vilda bet on Amaiur Sarrieg i, the Real scorer who finally got her chance to debut. She had a big chance in the 103rd minute, dislodging Williamson with a great feint and firing a hard left-footed low shot that licked past the right post of the Earps-defended goal.
Aitana had it in minute 107, but her shot from inside the box went wide of the Earps post. He was tried to the end, but England was no longer willing to forgive.