FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

FIFA Women's World Cup

Guijarro times her return to perfection

Patricia Guijarro of Spain celebrates
© Getty Images
  • Guijarro makes it to France after two operations and four months out
  • A key performer in the qualifiers, she won the adidas Golden Ball at France 2018
  • Her timely recovery boosts Spain’s hopes of success
By Elisa Revuelta with Spain

Patri Guijarro was on her way to the train station in Barcelona when she found out she had been named in Spain’s 23-player squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she admitted.

The 21-year-old midfielder was told that her recent injury woes were over just a few hours before her Barcelona team-mates took on Lyon in the final of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

It was welcome news for the Spain star. What was initially going to be a short injury lay-off lasting just a few weeks turned into something far more troubling, as she underwent two operations for a ganglion cyst on her right foot. “It was a pretty strange injury,” said Guijarro.

“It’s the first time I’ve had such a long injury – four and a half months,” she explained, before describing the worst moment of all: “I had a relapse and that was very tough. There are always going to be downs and you have to try and get through them, because if you let it get to you, then things just get worse.”

The support of her family and team-mates got her through those difficult times, however: “You have to be strong-minded because you know things like that can happen to you any time.”

Once it became clear to her that she was unlikely to play for Barça in the closing stretch of the season, Guijarro turned her thoughts to the World Cup. “The aim was to be fit enough to go to the World Cup, whether I made the squad or not. I’m very grateful for the show of faith in me,” she said with a smile.

Spain's roadmap at France 2019

🆚 Who? 🗓️ When? 🏟️ Where?
🇿🇦 South Africa 8 June, 18.00 CEST Stade Océane, Le Havre
🇩🇪 Germany 12 June, 18.00 CEST Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes
🇨🇳 China PR 17 June, 18.00 CEST Stade Océane, Le Havre

Why Spain waited for Guijarro

There is always a risk when selecting a player who has just returned from injury, but Spain coach Jorge Vilda has faith in Guijarro. Of the 26 players used by Vilda in the World Cup qualifiers, only five featured in every match, and Guijarro was one of them, starting six of the eight games and scoring two goals, including an injury-time winner against Serbia that took Spain back to the top of the group.

As an undisputed leader of the Rojita side that finished runners-up, the midfielder took the tournament’s adidas Golden Ball and Boot at last year's U-20 Women's World Cup.

In a team such as Spain’s, which is packed with creative and technically gifted players who are not noted for their physical strength, Guijarro has something different to offer. The only box to box operator in the side, she can start moves, play the final ball, and create chances by herself.

Can Guijarro perform to her full potential?

The midfielder has enjoyed some game time in Spain’s last two warm-up matches, coming on for the final ten minutes against Canada and playing for nearly half an hour against Japan.

She, for one, is convinced she can deliver: “It goes without saying that I’ll be giving it my all and will be 100% fit. I’m training fine, doing all the drills and exercises, even specific exercises on my ankle with the physios. I’m picking up the pace and I’ll contribute whenever the team needs me.”

Guijarro is back, on the same stage where she showed last year what she can do: “I’ve got great memories of the U-20 World Cup. I hope we can do something beautiful this year, something every bit as beautiful as last year.”

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