Spain
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The past
The women’s game has grown swiftly in Spain over the last few years and solid foundations have been laid for its future development, with the U-17s winning the European title in 2009/10 and 2010/11, finishing runners-up in 2008/09 and coming third in 2012/13. Las Rojitas underlined their promise by also taking third place at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010.

The present
The current generation fell just short in their attempt to win a third continental title at the 2013/14 UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship in England, losing the final on penalties to Germany after normal time ended with the sides locked at 1-1. Having begun the competition with a draw against Scotland, the Spaniards rounded off the group phase with respective 2-0 and 4-0 defeats of France and the Germans and then downed the hosts 3-0 in the semi-finals.

The future
Coach Jorge Vilda is one of the main architects of the success enjoyed by Spain’s young women players. Speaking after what he described as an “undeserved” defeat to the Germans in the European final, he said: “The good thing is that football always gives you the opportunity to get revenge, and ours will come soon, at the World Cup in Costa Rica in March. We will prepare as well as we can and I am sure that we will arrive in good shape, ready to go out and win the tournament.”