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Women’s World Cup Win: Vilda’s Victory or Loss?

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Women’s World Cup Win: Vilda’s Victory or Loss?

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Just less than a year ago, 15 players on Spain’s Women’s national soccer team refused to play under their head coach, Jorge Vilda. Now, Spain has become the World Cup champions. Does this victory tell us something about women’s football as a whole?

Back in September 2022, a big problem hit the Spain Women’s national team. 15 players decided they wouldn’t play if Vilda stayed as their coach. They all sent the same email to the Spanish Federation (RFEF), explaining how Vilda’s coaching was hurting their health and emotions. Some top players like Aitana Bonmati and Patri Guijarro were part of this group.
Even though they complained a lot, the RFEF didn’t start an investigation. Instead, they said the players could only come back if they admitted they were wrong and said sorry. The RFEF called what the players did “plotting,” and they threatened to ban them from international games for two to five years. They also said that deciding who the coach is doesn’t fall under the players’ responsibilities.

Out of those 15 players, 12 are no longer part of the team. Only Aitana Bonmati, Mariona Caldentey, and Ona Batlle are playing in this Women’s World Cup.

Jorge Vilda has been coaching different versions of Spain’s national teams for 14 years. He’s been leading what people call the golden generation of women’s soccer in the country. He started with the U17 team in 2009 and became the head coach of the main team in 2015.


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Even though he had really good players, like Alexia Putellas who won the Ballon d’Or, the team didn’t do very well until now. Their best performance was in the Euro 2017, where they reached the quarter-finals. After being knocked out by England in the quarter-finals of the Euros last summer, some players like Putellas, Irene Paredes, and Patri Guijarro officially complained to the federation. They talked about bad training, not enough analysis of matches, not enough rest, and privacy issues.

When the federation didn’t do anything about their complaint, the 15 players joined forces to ask for change. Vilda defended himself, saying he never thought of quitting. He said the players’ messages were confusing and made people doubt. He thought there might be something not related to sports behind all this. He called on all the players he ever worked with to come out and say if they had any problems with him. He said the captains of the team praised him, and he couldn’t understand why these accusations were made.

Both Vilda and his father supported Luis Rubiales to become the president of the RFEF in 2018. Rubiales has been involved in controversies since then, like using federation money for personal things and taking the Spanish Supercup to Saudi Arabia.

Even though the federation said they would only call committed players to the team, some young players stepped up and helped Spain win their first World Cup. One of them is Salma Paralluelo, a 19-year-old who scored vital goals. Alexia Putellas also played a huge role in this success. There are still tensions. Vilda and the coaching staff were mostly left out of the celebrations with the players.


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