Spain Accomplish The Dream And Win Their First World Cup Match
VAR and a double from Jennifer Hermoso were the greatest joys for Spain today in France, after wining their first match against the "Banyana Banyana" of South Africa (3-1). Ángel Vilda's team, a true defender of the video assistant refereeing, have finally left the fears and shadows from the last World Cup in Canada behind, where "La Roja" only got one point and couldn't get to the next stage of the tournament.
The evolution that women's football is experiencing in Spain, in which women players are starting to fill stadiums in the First Division and teams like Barcelona are reaching the Women's Champions League final, is finally having an impact on the international level. The Spanish team, who seem to be the big stars of Group B alongside Germany, had some struggles early on, and needed to put all their effort in to accomplish a wonderful comeback.
The "Banyana Banyana" are the 49th ranked nation in women's football, the second worst ranking of the tournament only above Jamaica (53rd), and only one place behind Cameroon, who Spain beat in Guadalajara (4-0) on the 19th of May. Moreover, they reached the World Cup after losing their last friendlies (against Norway 7-2 and United States 3-0). Quite the opposite to Spain, who achieved a full victory in the qualifying phase to the World Cup, with 25 goals in favor and only 2 against, one of the best defenses in the world.
It all started badly for the Spaniards, after Thembi Kgatlana's thunder strike goal in the 24th minute which put the South Africans ahead early on. A great counter and long shot that Spain and goalkeeper Sandra Paños couldn't stop.
However, Spain didn't give up and after relentless attacking found what they were looking for. The intensity was completely different and in the first ten minutes of the second half, Spain had generated as many chances as in the whole first half. First, a handball inside the box from Janin Van in the 69th minute allowed Jennifer Hermoso to score the penalty against Dlamini that gave life to Spain in the match. And finally, on the 82th minute, VAR came into scene, sending off Vilakazi and giving another penalty to Spain, which Hermoso transformed, becoming Spain's hero. But, that was not all...
Substitute Lucía García put the cherry on top of the Spanish cake, in the 88th minute, after an absolute master pass from number 14, Virginia Torrecilla, and dribbling past both the defense and the goalkeeper Garcia scored with ease.
Time is over! Thanks to this victory, Spain lead at the top of Group B with 3 hardly earned points, and look forward to surprising Germany.