Spain SheBelieves Cup preview

REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 24: Leila Ouahabi of Spain applauds the fans after the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Round Of 16 match between Spain and USA at Stade Auguste Delaune on June 24, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Spain come into their first SheBelieves Cup with people not knowing what to expect from them. Could they be dark horses to take home the crown?

The Spanish are the lowest-ranked team in the tournament according to the FIFA rankings, but that doesn’t mean you should underestimate them. They are one of the best up-and-coming national teams in world football.

What to expect

The Primera Iberdrola are one of the best emerging leagues in Europe and that is reflected in the fact that all but one of Spain’s players at the SheBelieves Cup play in the home nation’s league. The one exception being captain Irene Paredes, who plays in France for PSG.

If there was one thing to expect from the Spanish, it would be fast-paced and intense football. The kind of football that has Phil Neville biting his fingernails because he can’t settle on a regular back four.

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Spain, along with Japan, will struggle to prove the people who have already written them off wrong but if they do, it will be all the more spectacular.

The biggest danger for Spain is being regarded as a one-woman team, with only Jenni Hermoso having scored more than 20 international goals for them – out of the current squad that is.

Squad

Some of the biggest inclusions in the squad are 24-year-old Ainhoa Vicente, who could make her first appearance for the Spanish national team; 21-year-old Lucia Garcia, who has already got 20 caps to her name, despite her young age and of course, Barcelona’s star striker Jenni Hermoso.

22-year-old Aitana Bonmati also makes the list after lighting up the league this season.

Full squad:

Sandra Panos (Barcelona), Dolores Gallardo (Atletico Madrid), Maria Quinones (Real Sociedad); Mapi Leon (Barcelona), Andrea Pereira (Barcelona), Ivana Andres (Levante), Ona Batlle (Levante), Ainhoa Vincente (Athletic Bilbao), Leila Ouahabi (Barcelona), Irene Parades (PSG), Marta Corredera (Levante); Angela Sosa (Atletico Madrid), Patricia Guijarro (Barcelona), Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona), Virginia Torrecilla (Atletico Madrid), Amanda Sampedro (Atletico Madrid), Alexia Putellas (Barcelona); Marta Cardona (Real Sociedad), Sheila Garcia (Rayo Vallecano), Lucia Garcia (Athletic Bilbao), Nahikari Garcia (Real Sociedad), Mariona Caldentey (Barcelona), Jennifer Hermoso (Barcelona).

Can they beat the US?

Can anyone?

It would be a tough ask for Spain to usurp the US at the SheBelieves Cup but there is a real risk that the Spanish will be underestimated by Vlatko Andonowski’s USWNT.

Hermoso poses a unique attacking threat that no other player in world football truly matches.

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Hermoso is arguable in the group of the four best attacking talents in the world alongside Pernille Harder, Sam Kerr and Vivianne Miedema.

Spain lost 2-1 to the US at the World Cup last year, with the game being much closer than people had expected it to be. The US were saved by two penalties in that game with the aforementioned Hermoso scoring for the Spanish.

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