Five Things to Know: SpainHydrated by BioSteel
Coming off an action-packed matchup against England on Friday at Wembley Stadium, the U.S. Women’s National Team has made its way to Pamplona, Spain, where it will square off against La Roja on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at El Sardar Stadium. The match will kick off at 8:30 p.m. local / 2:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast in the United States on ESPN2.
This will be the fourth meeting all-time between the USA and Spain, which is ranked No. 8 in the latest FIFA World Rankings.
Here are Five Things to Know about Spain.
LAST TIME OUTSpain opened the October FIFA Window with a 1-1 draw against Sweden on Friday evening in Cordoba. The visitors took the lead in the 14th minute off a goal from Rebecka Blomqvist but the early deficit did not damper Spain’s attack. The Spaniards outshot the Swedes 26-16 on the evening, held 66 percent possession and completed nearly twice as many passes.
The persistence finally paid off in the 83rd minute as Spain tied the match off a goal from Atletico Madrid forward Marta Cardona. A corner kick was played to the back post and forward Irene Guerrero fired the ball back into the center of the six-yard box, setting up Cardona to blast it into the back of the net for her third international goal.
Spain utilized three substitutes on the night, including the goal-scorer Cardona, who came on in the 75th minute.
INSIDE THE ROSTER
The Spanish roster for this October Window is without several notable players due to a well-documented dispute in which 15 players asked not to be selected due to issues with head coach Jorge Vilda and their Federation.
Despite the notable absences, Spain still has put together a quality side for the FIFA window, comprised almost entirely of players who compete domestically in Spain’s top flight - the Primera División de la Liga de Fútbol Femenino, currently known as Liga F. Ten players on this roster play for Real Madrid, which finished third in the league last season and opened the 2022-23 campaign with back-to-back victories. Reigning Liga F champions and 2021-22 UEFA Women’s Champions League finalists FC Barcelona have two players on this roster in defenders Laia Codina, who spent last season on loan with AC Milan and is in search of her first senior National Team cap, and Nuria Rabano, who came on in the second half against Sweden to earn her first cap. Forward Andrea Falcon is the only player competing outside the country as she plays for Club America in Mexico.
Defender Ivana Andres, who captained the side against Sweden, is the most experienced player on this roster with 39 caps. Real Madrid forward Esther Gonzalez is the leading scorer on this roster with 19 goals in 29 caps. Cardona, Friday’s goal scorer, is the only other player on this roster with more than 20 caps and has made 23 appearances all-time for Spain.
Andres, Gonzalez and forward Alba Redondo are the only players on this roster who were a part of the Spain roster that took on the USA at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. Seven players on this square were a part of the team that played in the 2022 UEFA Women’s Euros where Spain finished second to Germany in Group B and lost to England 2-1 in overtime in the Quarterfinal.
Spain, like the USA, was forced to make one roster change following its first match of this FIFA window. Twenty-one-year-old midfielder Rosa Márquez joins the squad for the match against the USWNT, replacing midfielder Irene Guerrero who is out with a lower abductor injury after assisting the equalizing goal against Sweden on Friday night.
SPAIN WOMEN’S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sun Quiñones (Athletic Bilboa), Enith Salon (Valencia CF), Misa Rodriguez (Real Madrid)
DEFENDERS (8): Oihane Hernandez (Athletic Bilboa), Lucia Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Rocio Galvez (Real Madrid), Ivana Andres (Real Madrid), María Méndez (Levante), Laia Codina (FC Barcelona), Olga Carmona (Real Madrid), Nuria Rábano (FC Barcelona)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Anna Torroda (Valencia CF), Maitane López (Atletico Madrid), Matie Orzo (Real Madrid), Teresa Abelleira (Real Madrid), Rosa Márquez (Real Betis), Claudia Zornoza (Real Madrid)
FORWARDS (6): Athenea del Castillo (Real Madrid), Andrea Falcón (Club America, MEX), Alba Redondo (Levante), Ane Azkona (Athletic Bilbao), Marta Cardona (Atletico Madrid), Esther Gonzale (Real Madrid)
SERIES HISTORY: USA vs. SPAIN
The USA and Spain will square off for just the fourth time in a series that only dates back to 2019, when the teams met for the first time ever for a friendly in Alacante, Spain in January of 2019, a 1-0 win for the Americans. The teams met again six months later in the Round of 16 at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, a 2-1 come-from-behind victory for the USA, and then most recently at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup, where a set-piece goal from Julie Ertz in the 87th minute proved to be the difference in the USWNT’s 1-0 win.
Six players on this USA roster have previous experience against Spain – Megan Rapinoe, who scored twice against Spain at the 2019 World Cup -- Alyssa Naeher, Lindsey Horan, Becky Sauerbrunn, Rose Lavelle and Crystal Dunn.
Spain will be the eighth different European opponent the USA has faced since the start of 2021, having played Sweden twice during that span and England, the Netherlands, Portugal, France, Czech Republic and Iceland once each. The USA is now 3-2-3 against UEFA foes during that span, including a 1-1-1 mark in matches played in Europe.
QUALIFYING RECAPSpain was one of the earliest teams to qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, punching its ticket to Australia and New Zealand by finishing atop Group B in UEFA Qualifying. Playing with full roster of available players, Spain rolled through qualifying with a record of 8-0-0, outscoring the competition by an overall margin of 53 to 0. Spain officially clinched its spot Down Under on April 12 with a 2-0 victory over Scotland, powered by a brace from forward Jenni Hermoso, who is injured, and was not called in for these matches. Amaiur Sarriegi led Spain with 11 goals in qualifying followed by nine goals from Gonzalez.
Spain is now headed to its third Women’s World Cup, having made its World Cup debut at Canada 2015. Spain had a group stage exit in 2015, but finished second in Group B in 2019 and advanced to the Round of 16, where there USA came out on top of a highly-competitive 2-1 affair in Reims. A testament to Spain’s quick rise through the ranks of international soccer, the 2023 World Cup will be just the third world championship event for Spain, which has never qualified for the Olympics. In fact, the 2022 EURO was just the fourth time that Spain has competed in a European Championship, though La Roja have now reached – and exited in – the quarterfinals in three consecutive trips.
KIDS GOT GAME
Though still a relative newcomer at the senior level, Spain has been one of the most successful federations as of late when it comes to Youth National Team success. After finishing runner-up at the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France, Spain won the 2022 U-20 Women’s World Cup contested earlier this summer in Costa Rica, defeating Japan 3-1 in the final to avenge its’ 2018 title-game loss and become the fifth different country to win a U-20 World Cup.
Spain has the distinction of holding both Youth Women’s World Cup titles at the moment, as it is also reigning Under-17 World Cup champions after lifting the trophy in 2018. That year, Spain defeated Mexico 2-1 in the final to win the country’s first Women’s World Cup at any level. The cycle prior, Spain finished third at the 2016 U-17 World Cup in Jordan. Spain will look to defend its U-17 World Cup title when the 2022 U-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in India. Spain was drawn into Group C along with China PR, Colombia and Mexico, and will begin play on Wednesday, Oct. 12. The U.S. Under-17 Women’s Youth National Team was draw into Group A and will face hosts India on Tuesday, Oct. 11 (10:30 a.m. ET on FS2 / Universo).