People made fun of Coach Jorge Vilda because they thought he was too controlling and not good enough for the job. However, he has now made history by leading Spain to their first Women’s World Cup title.
In the final on Sunday, his team beat England 1-0 in front of a sold-out crowd of nearly 76,000 people in Sydney. This was an accomplishment that seemed impossible just a year ago.
There had been tension between the players on one side and the Spanish football league (RFEF) and Vilda on the other.
In September 2022, the situation got out of hand. Fifteen of the team members sent an email to the RFEF saying they did not want to be considered for selection because of their “emotional state.”
Officially, they never said what their problems were, but Spanish media had said before that they wanted Vilda, who was 42 at the time, fired.
Many of the players at Barcelona were quoted as saying that Vilda was “dictatorial” and that they didn’t like his training methods or tactics.
Mundo Deportivo and other newspapers said he would make the players keep their hotel doors open before midnight when they were on national service so he could make sure they were asleep on time.
There were also rumors that Vilda wanted to know where the players went, who they went with, and what they bought when they went out.
Vilda said that the argument was “practically over” before the World Cup, but he only called up three of the 15 mutineers.
He usually keeps to himself, but after Spain beat Sweden 2-1 in the quarterfinals, he said that the trouble had “made us all stronger.”
Vilda said, “The support of Luis Rubiales, the president of the federation, and everyone else at the federation means so much to me and will always stay with me, as will the support of my family, who has been through a lot this year.”
Vilda was a good player when he was younger, but an injury forced him to become a teacher.
He was put in charge of the main team in 2015.
Spain was in a bad place after the 2015 World Cup, where they came last in their group and didn’t win a single game.
With Vilda in charge, Spain lost in the quarterfinals of the 2019 World Cup to the United States, who went on to win the tournament. They also lost in the quarterfinals of two European Championships.
One of the players’ complaints about Vilda was that he didn’t do well even though he had talented players on his team.
Reports said that Rubiales offered to do something about some of the complaints by hiring a chef and more physios.
During training, like at the World Cup, the players also had a little more freedom to see their families.
But he never stopped being there for Vilda.
“Jorge is a great coach who turned down more money with other teams to stay with Spain,” Rubiales said on Spanish TV after Spain won the quarterfinals.
Now, both he and Vilda have been proven right, and then some.