Olympic Women’s Football Preview: Spain Women’s Football Team, Their Stories and Fights

Olympic Women’s Football Preview: Spain Women’s Football Team, Their Stories and Stars

    Last year's World Cup champions, this year's UEFA Nations League champions, in recent years, the Spanish team is entering their golden era. Today, let's delve into the story and the shining stars of La Roja.



1.The History Remains Unknown

    Unlike the dazzling history of the Spanish men's football team, the story of the Spanish women's football and the struggles they have endured remain largely unknown. In fact, they have faced struggles similar to ours.

    In 1939, with the end of the Spanish Civil War, the  Francisco Franco government emerged as the ruling power in Spain, and Franco's own views influenced all aspects of Spanish society and life.

    Under the strict restrictions of the Franco government's "permiso marital" law, women's rights to work, freedom of speech, and even personal freedom were heavily restricted. During that era, women were regarded as the property and under the authority of their husbands in all aspects of life.

     “If you want to play for Spain, you'll have to make up the hours at work”

    In an interview with ThinkSpain, the former Spanish women's football players talked about their hardships. On the field, men and rival opponents frequently hurled derogatory remarks. At times, men even shouted, "Take off your shirt." During those years, football jerseys were designed with high necklines, aiming to cover women's bodies as much as possible, and their socks were often made of long, thick wool to conceal any exposed skin.    

Spain womens football team history in the franco government

    As a result of the countless pioneering women's fights and Franco's death in the late 1970s, the constraints placed upon female footballers began to loosen.

    In 1980, the Royal Spanish Football Federation(RFEF) reluctantly agreed to the formation of the Spanish women's football team, and it wasn't until the late 1980s that the Spanish women's football league, represented by Barça women's football team, was gradually established.


    While the football atmosphere in Spain is very vibrant, their women's national football team has not achieved notably impressive results. In fact, prior to 2009, they had only qualified for the UEFA Women's Championship once, and it wasn't until 2015 that they made their debut in the Women's World Cup.

2. Behind the Rapid Rise

In recent years, the rapid rise of the Spanish team is not merely a stroke of good luck, but rather the result of their continuous efforts. Around the early 2000s, the women's football league, which laid the foundation for today's Spanish Women's First Division, began to mature, introducing a double round-robin format with the increasing number of teams. In that years, Athletic Bilbao Femenino was undoubtedly the undisputed dominant force.

bilbao win titles in 2010s womens football chmapion in spain

    I remember in my childhood, the dominant forces in women's football were teams like the United States and Sweden. The current generation of Spanish female footballers grew up during that era, influenced by the allure of women's football in the United States, Sweden, and the Netherlands. They have rapidly developed alongside the growth of the Women's First Division and youth training programs. 

    In 2015, the Spanish team made a historic first-ever qualification for the Women's World Cup. Unfortunately, in their three matches, they only managed to secure 1 point before exiting the tournament.

    Following this event, the team collectively called for the removal of coach Quereda, who had been in charge of the national team for 27 years, citing insults directed at players and poor tactical arrangements during his tenure. 



    Over the following eight years, under the guidance of Jorge Vilda, they consecutively won the Algarve Cup in 2017, and although they suffered a regrettable defeat to the formidable United States team in the 2019 World Cup, they reached their peak last year.

    Just like the struggle in the history of Spanish women, it seems that the inequality they face within the national team hasn't stopped. During the championship celebration, the President of the RFEF, Luis Manuel Rubiales, was witnessed worldwide displaying rude and disrespectful behavior towards Jennifer Hermoso. This time, the Spanish women's football team chose to take action, following in the footsteps of countless predecessors - they resisted! 

the champion player felt attacked by the president in spain womens football team

    The fact shows that Spanish women only grow more united and resilient with each struggle. Following the turmoil they faced in 2023, the resolute Spanish team triumphed over France in this year's Women's UEFA Nations League, claiming the title. This also marks their historic first qualification for the Olympic Games. 

Spain won UEFA Womens Nations league and get in Olympics 

3. Shining Stars 

    Some say that even if Spain were to replace half of their current starting players, they would still easily win the World Cup. While this statement may sound exaggerated, it does reflect the formidable lineup of the Spanish team.

   Let's count how many superstars are in the Spanish lineup. There's Alexia Putellas,the Women's Ballon d'Or and FIFA Women's World Player of the Year.  Aitana Bonmati, also a winner of the Women's Ballon d'Or and FIFA Women's World Player of the Year. Then, there's the young Barcelona prodigy Salma Paralluelo, and Laia Aleixandri, the stellar defender from Manchester City. And Ona Batlle, who has been selected for the PFA Team of the Year during her time at Manchester United, among others.

    What's even more remarkable is that most of these players come from FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, meaning they have plenty of opportunities to play and train together in their daily league matches. This translates to a particularly strong bond and chemistry among them. It's not an exaggeration to say that they are the top contenders for the gold medal in this year's Olympics.

starry players in spain womens football team lineup

4. 2024 Paris Olympics Preview

    In the past few days, the draw for the women's football event at the Paris Olympics was announced. The Spanish team was drawn into a group with Japan and Brazil. Japan boasts several talented players from overseas leagues, while Brazil's strength cannot be underestimated. However, Spain remains the standout team in this group in terms of overall strength. Therefore, we can predict that the Spanish team will face some challenges in the group stage, but their ultimate goal is undoubtedly to compete for the championship!

spain's draw in 2024 paris olympics womens footabll
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