Spain secured a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Sweden in their Nations League Group A match on Friday. The Spanish team, who are the reigning world champions, overcame a week of uncertainty following their World Cup win. Mariona Caldentey scored a penalty in stoppage time to give Spain a much-needed boost after a turbulent week that included threats of a boycott and late-night meetings to ensure they could field a team.
The conflict between the Spanish team and their association was further intensified when former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales kissed player Jennie Hermoso after the World Cup final. Rubiales claimed the kiss was consensual, but Hermoso strongly refuted this, leading to an ongoing criminal investigation in Spain. Additionally, coach Jorge Vilda has resigned from his position.
Despite only finalizing their squad earlier in the week, both teams staged a joint protest before the match, displaying a banner that read “Our fight is the global fight.” The game itself was a thrilling battle, with end-to-end action throughout the 90 minutes.
Sweden took the lead in the first half when Magda Eriksson headed home a corner. However, Athenea del Castillo equalized for Spain with a powerful shot from the edge of the box. Spain then took the lead in the 77th minute through Eva Navarro’s stunning long-range effort. Sweden quickly responded, with Lina Hurtig scoring to level the game. However, Caldentey’s late penalty secured victory for Spain, silencing the home crowd.
Castillo expressed pride in the team’s performance, acknowledging the difficult days leading up to the match but emphasizing their determination and resilience. Spain will face Switzerland in Cordoba on Tuesday, while Sweden will play against Italy. The Nations League also serves as a qualifying tournament for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.
Overall, Spain’s victory over Sweden showcased their ability to overcome adversity and deliver a strong performance on the field.
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