Spain claims first World Cup title amidst ongoing protest with their federation
The GIST: Spain overpowered England 1–0 in yesterday’s thrilling WWC final, a feat all the more impressive considering La Roja’s ongoing protest of the Royal Spanish Football Federation and head coach Jorge Vilda.
How it happened: Spain’s all-star possession was on full display, passing
circles triangles around the Lionesses. And in the 29th minute, La Roja launched a deft counter-attack as 23-year-old captain Olga Carmona made a dazzling run up the left flank before scoring the lone goal of the match.
- England didn’t go quietly though, and had a few second-half chances to equalize. Momentum swung massively on their side when goalkeeper Mary Earps made a tremendous, f-bomb worthy penalty kick save, but the Lionesses couldn’t capitalize.
- Notably, Spain is now the first team to ever hold the under-17, under-20, and WWC titles at the same time.
Off the field: Last September, 15 Spanish players asked not to be named to the national team until certain changes were made, accusing their federation of fostering an unprofessional work environment that had an “important effect on [their] emotional state and by extension [their] health.”
- Players cited stressful travel arrangements as well as overbearing coaches. Though he was not named outright in the players’ requests, the federation doubled down on their support for Vilda and demanded the players apologize.
- Three of those 15 players were eventually named to the WWC roster, but a handful made the ultimate sacrifice to fight for a better football future.
What’s next: It’s unclear. Players (understandably) weren’t too keen to speak about their ongoing protest after the game. It’s unlikely that Vilda will lose his job after the team just won their first WWC title (and after the federation made their stance clear on social media), but the fractures remain apparent and unresolved. Rooting for the players, always.