Spanish women’s football has made great strides in recent years, from youth level up, as the country’s U-17 side has shown. After placing third at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010, La Rojita went one better in finishing runners-up at Costa Rica 2014, and have also cemented their status as European heavyweights in the meantime. In the last eight years, Spain’s U-17s have contested six continental finals, winning the title in 2010, 2011 and 2015.
The current line-up has built on the successes of previous generations and will head to Jordan as unbeaten European runners-up, having drawn 0-0 with Germany in the final of the 2016 UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship before losing on penalties. Both teams know each other well, having drawn 2-2 in the group phase, a result La Rojita followed up by respectively beating fellow section rivals Czech Republic and Italy 1-0 and 3-1 and then easing to a 4-0 defeat of Norway in the semi-finals.
Tona Is’ charges already boast plenty of international experience, with eight members of the current side helping to lift the European title in 2015, among them Lucia Rodriguez, Berta Pujadas and Laia Aleixandri, who form part of a solid back-line, one of Spain’s chief assets. Goalkeeper Noelia Navarro is a commanding presence behind them, while La Rojita’s main goal threat is Lorena Navarro, the joint leading top scorer at this year’s European Championships along with England’s Alessia Russo. As their coach confirmed, the Spanish are eyeing further success in Jordan: “The girls really want to achieve something big.”