Barcelona stars Alexia Putellas, Aitana Bonmati and Mariona Caldentey returned for Spain as coach Jorge Vila named his Women’s World Cup squad.
- Spain announce initial 30 players
- Aitana & Mariona return after protest
- Putellas back in squad after injury
WHAT HAPPENED? Aitana and Mariona, alongside Manchester United defender Ona Battle, were among the 15 players to revolt following Spain’s quarter-final exit to England in Euro 2022. Issues were raised regarding Vilda and his coaching staff, but the Spaniard has remained at the helm. Putellas also returns in a significant boost. While she was never officially part of said rebel group, she was sidelined for 10 months with an ACL injury.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: While Aitana, Mariona and Putellas are the big inclusions – albeit for different reasons – there were surprise exclusions for fellow Blaugrana stars Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro. Both players have featured heavily in Barcelona’s Liga F, Supercopa and UWCL treble this term, but were unable to make Vilda’s initial list of 30 names. This will be narrowed down to the final 23 on June 30.
WHAT THEY SAID?: Speaking in a press conference immediately after the selection unveiling, Vilda told reporters: “Alexia is a very important player, it’s great news that she has recovered well. We didn’t have her or Jenni at the European Championship due to injury, but now we do. It’s great news. The important thing is that the players on the list are committed to the national team.
“We really want to go far. We’re going to go and win every game, we have the utmost ambition. This is the third World Cup in our history, we have been working for many years to get to this point. I’m confident and very motivated. We are at the same level as the best teams.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR SPAIN? After being narrowed down to the final 23 players, Vilda’s side will prepare to take on Denmark in their final World Cup preparation match on July 5. Their tournament opener comes against Costa Rica on July 21.