Spain’s trophy cabinet continues to grow, this time through their hugely promising U-20 generation. The Spaniards managed to win the final of the U-20 World Cup, held in Costa Rica, 3-1 against Japan. At the individual level, Salma Paralluelo was awarded as MVP of the final, and Meritxell Font won the golden glove as the goalkeeper who conceded the fewest goals in the tournament.
So, let’s discover the 3 key points to La Roja’s success at the Women’s World Cup through the Individual Fundamentals per Position.
- Forward Fundamental: Dismarking In Direction To The Goal Through Taking The Back Of The Centre-Backs (Attacking).
Spain opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a great pass from Ane Elexpuru that saw Inma Gabarro perfectly time her run in behind the centre back to avoid being offside. After a magnificent first touch, Gabarro finished the play assuredly past the Japanese goalkeeper.
10 minutes later, Andrea Medina played a long ball behind the Japanese defense to set up Salma Paralluelo, who again had dismarked behind the centre backs. Afterwards, the MVP of the match elegantly brought the ball down and finished to the right side of the opposition ‘keeper’.
- Central Midfielder Fundamental: Identifying The Defensive Responsibility (Defensive).
Although it is true that in the second half they had to defend more than they had done in the first, Spain played a high pressing game with individual marking all over the pitch. It was crucial that the midfield players, formed by a pivot and two interiors, identified their responsibility without breaking the defensive balance, and eliminated the passing lines to their mark. As Japan played with two forwards, the holding midfielder helped the centre backs to mark the Japanese second striker, as we can see in the second picture, while the two interiors took responsibility for the two Japanese midfielders.
- Winger Fundamental: Defending The Inside Space In Defensive Support For The Full-Back (Defensive).
With Japan needing to win the game, they regained the majority of possession of the ball. The Spaniards, situated in a medium-low block, had to defend for long periods in which the opposition attacked a lot through the wings. Thus, the help from the wingers to their full backs was key, both to avoid the 2v1 on the wing and to close the inside spaces.
In conclusion, Spain excellent 30-minute period in the first half allowed them to open up a strong lead. The performance of their strikers was decisive, with their dismarking towards goal and in behind the centre backs to go 1-on-1 with the Japanese goalkeeper. Defensively, Spain defended individually all over the pitch, carrying out a great job in midfield, identifying very well the defensive responsibility in each situation.