Football: Spain women look to add Nations League to World Cup, Olympic qualification

The Spanish and French women's football teams play the final of the UEFA Women's Nations League in the Estadio de la Cartuja in Seville

Madrid, Feb 27 (IANS) The Spanish and French women’s football teams play the final of the UEFA Women’s Nations League in the Estadio de la Cartuja in Seville on Wednesday night. Spain booked their place in the final on Friday with a comfortable 3-0 win over the Netherlands on the same ground, while the French beat Germany 2-1 to reach the final.

The semifinal win also means that the Spanish assured their first-ever qualification for the Olympic Games, giving them the chance to add an Olympic medal to the World Cup that they won in the summer, while the French were already assured an Olympic place as hosts, reports Xinhua.

France coach Herve Renard is without Sandy Baltimore, who has been forced to withdraw from the squad due to a family issue. Vicky Becho, who was part of the French World Cup squad, has been called up from the Under-23’s to replace her.

The big question mark for Spain is whether Alexia Putellas and Tere Abelleira will be able to play after both missed out on the semifinal place. Former Balon d’Or winner Alexia remains one of the stars of the Spain squad, although she has struggled with injuries over the past year.

Spain has done well without Alexia in recent matches, with coach Montse Tome overcoming initial doubts after she was named the replacement for Jorge Vilda, the World Cup-winning coach, who was sacked in the wake of the “Rubiales affair.”

That controversy saw the former President of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) sacked for his lewd gestures in the VIP box at the World Cup final and giving an unsolicited kiss on the lips to Jenni Hermoso in the post-game celebrations.

–IANS

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