Women’s Euro 2022 Preview: Spain

Spain booked their place at Euro 2022 after finishing top of Group D, six points ahead of the Czech Republic.

La Roja picked up seven wins and one draw from eight matches, scoring 48 goals and conceding only one in a hugely impressive campaign.

Star player Alexia Putellas will miss the Women’s European Championship after suffering a knee injury during training at Bisham Abbey on Tuesday.

Putellas has been ruled out of the tournament after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in her left knee.

Spain confirmed that the 28-year-old had suffered an injury on Tuesday during a training session.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Spain said: “The tests carried out on the Spanish international on the afternoon of this Tuesday, July 5, 2022, at King Edward VII’s hospital in London, have confirmed that the captain of the Spanish Women’s National Team suffers a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee.”

Putellas, a Ballon d’Or winner, will be a huge loss to the team.

La Roja have already suffered several major injuries in their preparations for the Euros. The first to go was Jenni Hermoso, who will miss the tournament through injury. Salma Paralluelo is also out through injury.

The Spanish team went into the European Championships as favourites for the tournament if certain bookmakers are to be believed.

The golden age of Spanish football is upon us but many now fear that without Hermoso and Putellas, La Roja could eventually struggle to lift the trophy on 31 July.

Spain have already booked their ticket to the next World Cup: they’ll be one of 32 teams who go to Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

Spain’s stunning 1997 Euros – in which they reached the semi-finals – was the only time between 1984 and 2009 that the national side had ever qualified for the tournament.

This year’s edition, however, is Spain’s third tournament in a row, having lost at the quarter-finals stage in both.

Just like with the men’s golden age of 2008-2012, it is no coincidence that the national side is achieving great success alongside a strong Barcelona side.

Indeed, 10 of Spain’s 23-player squad ply their trade with the Catalan giants who have helped their side dominate domestically in recent seasons.

Barcelona became champions this year after winning every single league match, scoring 159 goals and conceding just 11 in the 30 matches.

All eyes will be on talented midfielder Aitana Bonmatí, one of the Barcelona stars who will feature for the national side in the tournament.

Away from Barcelona, seven of the players are from their arch-rivals Real Madrid.

Interestingly team captain Paredes is the only member of the squad who is over 30 years of age – this Spanish side has potentially several tournaments it can try and win.

However, after breaking into the top 10 of the world rankings they will be looking to win Euro 2022.

It is also not a coincidence that the rise of the national team is on a parallel with the Madrid side finally fielding a female team.

In Spain’s group they will face Finland, Germany and Denmark.

Their tasty looking match against Germany, another of the pre-tournament favourites, may have a huge bearing on how their tournament pans out.

Spain go into the tournament which is being hosted in England in fine form.

Just last week in a friendly they beat Australia 7-0, with goals from Aitana Bonmatí, Mariona Caldentey, Esther González and two each from Lucía García and Irene Guerrero.

For years the female side has underachieved in tournaments; Spain have featured at the Euros three times but have never won the tournament or reached the final.

Their first game of the tournament is against Finland in Group B on Friday.

Jorge Vilda’s side will then face Germany and Denmark later this month.

James Felton, Kieran Quaile

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