Though women’s football has yet to really take off in Spain, La Selección can still point to a continental title in their trophy cabinet. Spain’s U-19 women’s side were crowned European champions in 2004, thus earning the right to appear at that year’s edition of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Thailand. Once there, Las Rojitas won one of their three group games though missed out on progress to the knockout phase on goal difference.
After finishing runners-up at the 2009 UEFA Women’s Under-17 Championship, five members of that squad were part of La Selección which went one step further at the same event a year later. Under coach Jorge Vilda, who put the triumph down to togetherness and a talented crop of youngsters, Spain topped their group in both of their pre-tournament qualifying rounds without losing a game – scoring 33 goals and conceding just three in the process. At the final tournament proper, Las Rojitas followed up a 3-0 win over the Netherlands in the last four by overcoming the Republic of Ireland 4-1 on penalties after the final finished goalless after extra time.
“Given that a Spanish women’s side have only previously reached one FIFA competition and failed to negotiate the group stage, in principle overcoming that barrier in Trinidad and Tobago would be considered a good performance,” said coach Vilda. “We’re taking steps in the right direction and I believe we’re closer to making the breakthrough.”
Facts and figures
Amanda Sampedro, Laura Gutierrez, Dolores Gallardo, Sara Merida, Raquel Pinel
Spain won 5 and drew 3 of their eight encounters, scoring 36 goals and conceding only 3.
The numbers game
0 – The number of games Las Rojitas lost on their way to clinching a place at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010.
|3||Ana Maria CATALA|