Putellas reduced to supporting role as other stars emerge

Putellas reduced to supporting role as other stars emerge0

Alexia Putellas’ health seemed to be the key to Spain’s hopes at the Women’s World Cup, but the team has made it all the way to the final despite the fact that their star player hasn’t been able to do much.

Salma Paralluelo, Aitana Bonmati, and Teresa Abelleira, an unknown middle star, have stood out for Jorge Vilda’s team. They beat Sweden 2-1 on Tuesday to make it to the final on Sunday in Sydney.

Putellas had to work hard to get back on the team after being out for more than nine months with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee, which happened right before last year’s European Championship.

The player has won the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA Best award for the last two years in a row, but he has only played three times for Spain on their way to their first World Cup final.

Her biggest time on the field was 62 minutes in the last group game against Japan, which finished in a 4-0 loss that didn’t look good for the next round.

Putellas was back in the starting lineup against Sweden after coming on briefly as a substitute in wins over Switzerland and the Netherlands.

But before the hour mark, she was taken off and replaced by Paralluelo, a 19-year-old winger who is one of the most exciting players at this World Cup.

Vilda later said that his plan was to use Putellas to wear Sweden down and then use Paralluelo to change the game.


Not in the public eye
The youngster, who used to run track but gave it up to focus on football a year ago, scored the winning goal in extra time in the quarterfinal against the Netherlands.

Paralluelo scored the first goal at Eden Park, where she played in the middle, before Olga Carmona scored the winner.

“The plan was to take control of the game, try to tire them out with our possession and passing, and keep Salma’s speed, talent, and quality so we could bring on other players in the second half,” Vilda said, praising the young Barcelona star.

“Don’t forget that she is very young and that she has only been focused on sports for a year.

“We should just try to help her get as far as she can. No one knows how high she can go.”

After being named player of the match against Sweden, Paralluelo talked to the media, but Putellas walked by the press without saying a word.

This has become the norm for her during the tournament, as the 29-year-old has stayed out of the spotlight. This is in contrast to the many recent award events where she shone brightly on stage in front of the whole world.

Vilda said during the event that he had a team of “23 Ballons d’Or” after being told that Aitana Bonmati could win that award this year instead of her Barcelona partner Putellas.

She had a good World Cup after being named the best player in the Champions League, which her team won even though they were missing Putellas for most of the season.


“Awesome spirit”
Now, Vilda has to decide if Putellas will play in Sunday’s final, but there are some players that the Spain coach can’t do without.

Jennifer Hermoso has been very helpful in attack or in the middle of the field when Putellas hasn’t started.

And Abelleira of Real Madrid has been the tournament’s best holding midfielder, there is no doubt about that.

“The spirit in this team is amazing,” Abelleira said, noting that Spain had been through a lot of trouble off the field in the months leading up to the World Cup.

Last year, 15 rebels said they didn’t want to be picked as a protest against the Spanish league and Vilda. Only three, including Bonmati, came back for the event.

Putellas didn’t join the boycott because she was hurt at the time, but she did support the players’ complaints and may have helped them talk to the league.

“We’ve all worked together to reach our goal, and it’s been a great time,” said Abelleira.

“We’ve changed a lot, and now we can talk about making it to the final.”

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