Euros Preview: Spain

by Nathan Edwards (29/6/22).

Above: Spain – one of the favoured nations at this year’s competition. Photo: GOAL.

With the groups set out and the squads revealed, the Women’s 2022 Euro Championship has started to take shape, and for Spain, there is a quiet optimism surrounding the camp heading into the competition.

In recent seasons, Spain have had huge success at club level, with Barcelona building on their 2020-21 treble-winning season by winning their 14th consecutive league title unbeaten this season. Within La Blaugranes there is a strong Spanish core, that La Roja coach Jorge Vilda has the luxury to choose from.

In his provisional squad for the Euros, which is held in England, Vilda has called upon 10 Barcelona players including, Ballon d’Or winner, Alexia Putellas.

Originally the former Spanish youth team coach announced 11 Barcelona players in his squad, but lethal striker, Jennifer Hermoso will miss the tournament due to a knee injury.

Her absence meant that Claudia Zornoza returned to the squad, after the Real Madrid midfielder was notably omitted from the squad, with 18-year-old Salma Paralluelo, who made her Villarreal debut in January against EDF Logrono, rewarded with a first senior call-up.

The Squad:

Goalkeepers: Sandra Panos (Barcelona), Lola Gallardo (Atletico Madrid), Misa Rodriguez (Real Madrid).

Defenders: Irene Paredes (Barcelona), Maria Leon (Barcelona), Leila Ouahabi (Barcelona), Andrea Pereira (Barcelona), Ivana Andres (Real Madrid), Ona Batlle (Manchester United), Laia Aleixandri (Atletico Madrid), Olga Carmona (Real Madrid), Sheila Garcia (Atletico Madrid), Ainhoa Vicente Moraza (Athletic Club).

Midfielders: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona), Mariona Caldentey (Barcelona), Patri Guijarro (Barcelona), Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona), Irene Guerrero (Levante), Nerea Eizagirre (Real Sociedad), Teresa Abelleira (Real Madrid), Claudia Zornoza (Real Madrid).

Forwards: Lucia Garcia (Athletic Club), Esther Gonzalez (Real Madrid), Marta Cardona (Real Madrid), Amaiur Sarriegi (Real Sociedad), Athenea del Castillo (Real Madrid), Claudia Pina (Barcelona), Salma Paralluelo (Villarreal).

The Coach:

Above: Jorge Vilda, Spain’s head coach. Photo: AFP.

Jorge Vilda has experienced all levels of the Spanish women’s national team, first managing La Roja’s under 17 for five years, where he led his country to two victorious Euro campaigns, before taking charge of Spain’s under 19 in 2014, the same year he was nominated for FIFA’s Women Coach of the Year. In 2015, he succeeded Ignacio Quereda as the senior women’s head coach and has established many of the players he worked with at youth level as regular inclusions within the squad, including Putellas, Lola Gallardo, and Patri Guijarro. His greatest success with La Rojas, so far, was in the 2020 She Believes Cup, beating England to finish second to the United States, with the 40-year-old looking to go one step further in this international competition.

Euros History:

Despite being touted as contenders for the tournament, Spain’s pedigree within the Women’s Euros isn’t rich, reaching their sole semi-final 25 years ago. Since that defeat to Italy, they have only managed to get to two quarter-finals, both of them coming in the last two editions of the tournament.

In recent years Spain have found huge amounts of success domestically, with Barcelona Femeni filling their trophy cabinet with league and cups over the past decade, as well as finding prosperous talents and turning them into some of the world’s best. Despite all this success at club level, La Roja have struggled to replicate that form internationally, and are often seen as perennially underachievers and unable to turn domestic triumphs into national glory.

But as Euro 2022 draws closer, Jorge Vilda’s side head to England quietly confident and with the aim to go further than they ever had before, and create some more moments, like these three, in Europe’s most prestigious competition.

Spain 2–1 England, European Qualifier First Leg Play-off, 8th September 1996 – Although not technically a Euro’s match, but a play-off match, that if victorious would help La Roja take a step closer to an inaugural Euros campaign.

But before they caught a flight to Sweden, they first entered the field at Montilla, in Southern Spain, to face England, who already had some European pedigree, after featuring in the tournament that presided the 1997 edition. Despite the European experience and prize on the line, Spain were not fazed and struck first through Prieto Ibanez, eight minutes in.

The early goal put Spain on their way, as they gained a grip of the first play-off game, Ibanez struck again the other side of the break, with Hope Powell halving the deficit with 26 minutes to go. Spain won on home soil and flew to England to hold onto a draw that saw them reach their first Euro competition.

Spain 1 – 0 Russia, European Championship Group Stage, 5th July 1997, After battling past England, Spain were handed France, Russia and Sweden in Group A. La Roja’s maiden game against Les Blues, ended in a draw, followed by a narrow defeat to European regulars, Sweden, which balanced the group nicely for Spain, knowing a win against Russia, would see them through to the knockout stages at the first time of trying.

Above: Veronica Boquete – Spanish legend who scored against England in 2013. Photo: Minas Panagiotakis.

Manager Ignacio Quereda lined up a similar team to their match against England, and saw a similar result in Karlskoga, as Maria Parejo got the sole goal of the game to send Spain through to face Italy and pick up their first victory in the Euros.

England 2-3 Spain, European Championship Group Stage, 12th July 2013 – Since that defeat to Italy in 1997, Spain’s senior women’s side had botched multiple opportunities to get to the Euros, until 16 years later when they returned to Sweden to pick up their first win in the tournament since the turn of the century in dramatic fashion.

After eight minutes, Eni Aluko dragged the Lionesses level, after Veronica Boquete opened the scoring four minutes earlier, and it wasn’t until 81 minutes after the former PSG player’s early strike, that the game found a new lease of life.

The clinical Jennifer Hermoso reacted quickest to Silvia Meseguer’s deflected shot to fire in, only for England to fight back with one minute left on the clock. Anita Asante cushioned the ball into Laura Bassett’s path to guide it in, but La Roja wasn’t knocked back and three minutes into added time Putellas header sent Spain fans into pandemonium after a 16-year absence from the tournament.

Similarly, to their 1997 campaign they reached the knockout stage but fell short once again and this time became the victims of a stoppage-time winner by Ada Hegerberg and Norway.

And heading into this tournament Vilda will be hoping to create more history by coaching them to a first Euro knockout victory in England this summer.


Although they have underachieved on the international stage, La Roja flexed their muscles in the qualification phase, winning nine and drawing one as they comfortably finished top of Group D, six points clear of the Czech Republic. They racked up some big results on their way. Esther Gonzalez and Hermoso both scored five goals as they whacked Azerbaijan 13-0 away, whilst also beating Moldova 19-0 over two games. The five-goal haul by Barcelona’s striker saw her finish as the side’s top goal scorer in qualification, as Vilda will need to find a solution to replace Hermoso’s goalscoring talent.


The side line-up in a 4-3-3 formation that allows them to dominate possession, in the classic ‘tiki-taka’ style. With this, they are going to be one of the most enjoyable teams to watch, and with Putelas, Gonzalez, and Claudia Pina the Spain squad is full of entertainers.

Development Area:

The fact that their top goal scorer in qualification will miss the tournament is the biggest area of concern for Vilda. It will be difficult to replace what Hermoso offers, not just with her threat in the final third but, collecting 91 caps for Spain, the striker offers a wealth of experience, and the Spanish fans will be hoping that the Barcelona core can transfer their winning mentality over across to the national team.

Key Player:

Above: Spain’s superstar Alexia Putellas. Photo: Jose Luis Contreras/DAX Images/NurPhoto.

Alexia Putellas. Currently UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, Putellas has been the instrumental focal point in Barcelona’s dominance. The midfielder has all the traits needed to succeed in the middle of the park, dictating play, whilst also having a killer instinct when it comes to playing a defence-splitting pass or when she finds herself with an opportunity to score. The 28-year-old is also deadly from set-pieces, with the ability to combine her powerful strikes with precision, she will add an extra advantage to Spain’s attack.

One To Watch:

Claudia Pina. One of Putellas’ teammates at Barcelona, Pina returned from her loan spell at Sevilla last season, ready for the challenge at Barca, which she has battled successfully. Injuries to Mariona Caldentey and Lieke Martens gave the 20-year-old a pathway into the starting line-up and she has impressed. 15 league goals along with 11 assists is an impressive return for any professional, and there is more to her game than just these stats.

The diminutive midfielder is always busy searching for areas to become a goal threat, and being a forward player her ability to keep control of the ball in tight areas helps Barcelona and Spain function. This will be her first senior tournament with La Roja and after a successful breakout season, Pina will look to build on that in England.


Semi-Finals. Drawn in the group of death, against Germany, Finland, and Denmark, it will be an early test for Vilda’s side but if they manage to fight their way through, then La Roja will be confident they can beat anyone. The teams they are likely to face in the quarter-finals are Norway or England, and with the English crowd, Vilda will be keen to avoid the Lionesses – although to do that they are likely to have to win the group. With the squad flooded with talent, though, Spain will be looking forward to what could be a fruitful tournament for them.

Group Fixtures:

8th July: Finland, 8pm, Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.

12th July: Germany, 8pm, Brentford Community Stadium, London.

16th July: Denmark, 8pm, Brentford Community Stadium, London.

Impetus is previewing a different nation every day between now and the start of the European Championships. Click below to read the previously published articles:

FRANCE – by Jean-Pierre Thiesset: AUSTRIA – by Jorge Ceron: GERMANY – by Johnathan Stack: ICELAND – by Kris Goman:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: