The road to Canada
Drawn in Group 2 of European Zone qualifying, Spain finished top of the section – three points ahead of Italy – after recording nine wins and a draw from their ten encounters. Leading the team’s scorers’ charts was 12-goal Natalia Pablos, while overall La Roja struck 42 times and conceded just twice, to end the qualifying campaign as Europe’s fourth-most prolific attack and fourth-best defence.
Strengths and style
Spearheaded by the attacking talent of Veronica Boquete, a candidate for FIFA Women’s World Player 2014, much of Spain’s strength comes from the togetherness of a players that have grown up together since their time in the national youth set-up. The years of dedication put in by a group of talented, committed and hard-working footballers, in a country where life in the women’s game still contains many obstacles, is reaping rewards.
With many Spain stars having to move abroad in order to gain the support required to continue to grow as players, La Roja’s experience gained when reaching the knockout stages of last year’s UEFA Women’s EURO could prove vital in terms of building confidence and reinforcing belief in their stylish, short-passing style.
Usually sent out in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Spain’s balanced approach provides plenty of cover in all areas of the field, with most of their goals coming from the trio lined up behind the main striker. Most comfortable in possession yet willing to work hard without it, a first FIFA Women’s World Cup™ qualification means that this version of La Roja is most definitely on an upward trajectory.
In charge of Spain since 1988, Ignacio Quereda’s 26 years in the role have featured appearances at two Women’s EUROs (1997 and 2013) and victory in the Women’s U-19 European Championship in 2004. And now, after a lengthy wait, he has achieved his dream of guiding his charges to the finals of a Women’s World Cup.
FIFA Women's World Cup record
- This is the first time Spain have qualified for a senior Women’s World Cup
What they said
“Our goal is to have a good World Cup. Of course we’re not expecting to win it first time out, realistically we’ll be aiming to get through the group stage and then try and seal qualification for the Olympic Games in Brazil [in 2016],” Veronica Boquete, Spain captain