World Cup Diary: England fall short, but can be proud of tournament efforts
Spain World Cup winner Alexia Putellas has lashed out by calling football an “industry” after helping her country overcome England in Sunday’s final. The blockbuster midfielder, who has won the Ballon d’Or on two occasions, had refused to do interviews during the tournament but spoke out after her team had defeated the Lionesses 1-0 in Australia to lift the illustrious trophy.
Putellas is regarded as one of the best players in world football and beat England star Beth Mead to the Ballon d’Or last year after finishing ahead of Spain team-mate Jennifer Hermoso to win the award for the first time in 2021.
The 29-year-old had suffered a miserable 12 months after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee last July. That injury forced her to miss Euro 2022 as Spain were knocked out in the quarter-finals by eventual champions England.
Putellas returned to the pitch in April as she came on as a substitute for Barcelona during a La Liga clash with Sporting Huelva. And she was named as part of Jorge Vilda’s 23-player Spain squad ahead of the World Cup.
Read more… World Cup star Hermoso kissed by Spanish FA president releases fresh statement
Putellas started two of Spain’s group matches as well as their 2-1 semi-final victory over Sweden but kept a low profile throughout the tournament as she avoided the media. She was named on the bench for the final but was introduced to the action in the dying minutes as her country clung on to their lead.
And after the match had come to an end, the player finally broke her silence as she touched upon her tough year. “I’ve seen them in all colours, but it’s learning and I’ll stick with that,” she explained. “This season has been a master’s degree and I have learned how this industry works.” The talented ace added that the last 12 months had been “very hard” but hoped “it has been worth it.”
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Spain were dominant for much of their showdown with England and scored the winning goal just before the half hour mark as Olga Carmona swept the ball into the bottom corner of Mary Earps’ net after being teed-up by Mariona Caldentey.
England pushed for an equaliser after introducing star play Lauren James at the break and stayed in the game when Earps saved a Jennifer Hermoso penalty. But there was no comeback on the cards as Spain held firm to lift the Women’s World Cup trophy for the first time in their history.
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