FIFA Women’s World Cup: Spain name Alexia Putellas, three rebel players in preliminary squad
Spain will play their first match at the Women’s World Cup against Costa Rica on July 21. Zambia and Japan are also in the group.
Spain named their preliminary squad for the Women’s World Cup on Monday with Alexia Putellas and three of the 15 players who had renounced the national football team after a spat with the coach.
Putellas, a two-time Ballon d’Or winner, was included along with Ona Batlle, Aitana Bonmatí and Mariona Caldentey, who were among the players who in September announced they would not play for Spain because of differences with coach Jorge Vilda.
“If these players are here now, it’s because they are committed with the national team,” Vilda said after announcing his list. “We have the good news that we have more players committed and more players available for the World Cup.”
Vilda called up 30 players who next week will begin preparations for the July 20-Aug. 20 tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
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Vilda did not specify what made him accept the return of those three players, or if he had considered calling up some of the others who had rebelled last year. The Spanish football federation had demanded the players to ask for forgiveness after they sent emails asking not to be selected because they said playing for Vilda “significantly” affected their “emotional state” and health.
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“Since September, a lot of things have happened, and one of the best things was that we played 11 matches and won nine, losing one and drawing another,” Vilda said. “We beat the United States for the first time and moved to sixth in the rankings for our highest position. I’m convinced that there will be harmony and unity with the goal of doing well in the World Cup.”
Vilda will be able to count on Putellas after she recently recovered from an ACL injury that sidelined her for about nine months, keeping her from playing in the European Championship in England last year. Spain was eliminated by the hosts in the quarterfinals.
“It is very important that Alexia recovered well,” Vilda said. “We know that she will be of great help for us, not only on the field, but also with her leadership and her experience.”
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