Before Spain kicked off their first Women’s World Cup campaign in Canada, the squad was confident and had good reason to be.
Qualifying for their first World Cup after several false starts had brought renewed confidence into the team. The statistics during their qualifying campaign looked impressive; undefeated in 10 games, scoring 42 goals and conceding just twice. Going to the finals was the result of Coach Ignacio Quereda’s hard work.
Moreover, they could use Euro 2013 as a reminder of their ability to play in big international tournaments. La Roja impressed many when managing to beat England 3-2. Their squad contained a decent mix of youngsters and experienced players, such as experienced midfielder Veronica Boquete, as well as forward Sonia Bermudez Tribano, who scored 10 goals in 10 qualifiers.
The Spanish media throughout their campaign endeavoured to support them with front-page spreads wishing them luck – all designed to give them inspiration in a group that consisted of Brazil, Spain and Costa Rica.
Sadly, it would all end in the group stage without a single win but two defeats and a draw. Their main problem was a lack of experience in a pool that they were expected to progress from. Their curtain raiser against Costa Rica and final game versus South Korea set the tone that would befall them.
The Spaniards, in both matches, started rather well as they took the lead in each. However, their inexperience and occasional naivety would result in lost points. Against Costa Rica, the Iberians conceded only moments after they opened the scoring and 1-1 was how it would stay.
In their final match they went one up, yet in the second half conceded twice to lose 2-1 and crash out of the World Cup. Ironically their best performance was against powerhouses Brazil in their second match. La Roja may have lost 1-0 but showed great fighting spirit.
Despite crashing out of the World Cup without winning a game, it’ll prove to be a vital experience for a young Spanish side who continue to grow. Spain’s men had to undergo several World Cup disappointments before finding success.
However, recriminations have already begun as the squad issued a statement after their 2-1 defeat to South Korea calling for change. Should Quereda be sacked then it could help refresh the team, given that he has been at the helm since 1988. New ideas may be needed and, after the experiences in Canada, might allow La Roja to become a better side.
Sometimes, success can be borne from failure.