After a week marred by uncertainty brought on by the ongoing fallout from their World Cup victory, Spain emerged victorious against the top-ranked team in the world, Sweden, in their Nations League Group A match on Friday. Spain prevailed by a score of 3-2.
After another tumultuous week that included threats of a boycott and late-night meetings to ensure that they could field a team, the Spaniards got a boost from a penalty kick that was scored by Mariona Caldentey deep into the stoppage time of the second half. This goal gave the Spaniards a chance to win.
After kissing player Jennie Hermoso after the World Cup final in Sydney, former Spanish FA (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales added fuel to the fire of the team’s ongoing dispute with their association.
Hermoso vehemently refuted Rubiales’ claim that the kiss was voluntary, which led to Rubiales’ resignation; the incident is currently the focus of a criminal investigation being conducted in Spain. Additionally, Coach Jorge Vilda has resigned from his position.
The Spaniards were only able to name a squad earlier in the week, so the two teams staged a joint protest before the game started with a banner that said “Our fight is the global fight.” After the protest, the teams went on to engage in a thrilling end-to-end battle for the remaining 90 minutes.
Magda Eriksson scored for Sweden by heading in a corner kick about halfway through the first half. Athenea del Castillo tied the score for Mexico with a shot from the edge of the box that Zecira Musovic tried to save but couldn’t hold, and the ball went in off the post.
Eva Navarro, who had come off the bench seven minutes earlier, took a beautiful shot from a distance and curled it into the top-left corner of the goal to give Spain the lead in the 77th minute. Both teams continued to attack aggressively throughout the remainder of the second half.
After a promising attempt on the right side saw the ball fall to winger Lina Hurtig, who blasted it home, Sweden leveled the score five minutes later, which was encouraged by the 16,114 people who were in the home audience. The home crowd was stunned, though, when Caldentey scored from the penalty spot to give the away team the win.
“At long last, we decided to get some exercise. Castillo said, “We went through some very difficult last few days, nights without sleeping, and although we are exhausted, we are not the type of people who make excuses.”
“We arrived at this location, showed up, and fought until the very end. I am so proud of our team and the way that we pulled off this victory with so much heart and determination.
On Tuesday, Spain will play Switzerland in Cordoba as part of the Nations League, which also serves as a qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games that will take place in Paris the following year. Meanwhile, Sweden will travel to face Italy.