The Spain Women's World Cup build-up started with a controversial dispute with the federation that had ostracized many stars, including six members of the Champions League-winning Barcelona side.
Despite the protests back in September 2022, coach Jorge Vilda remains in charge as La Roja hope to improve on their Last 16 finish at the previous tournament.
Some, but not all, of the dissenting players, have returned to the fold in time for the trip to Australia and New Zealand.
Spain Women's World Cup – Full Squad
- Misa Rodriguez (Real Madrid)
- Enith Salón (Valencia)
- Cata Coll (Barcelona)
- Ona Batlle (Manchester United)
- Irene Paredes (Barcelona)
- Ivana Andrés (Real Madrid)
- Oihane Hernández (Athletic Bilbao)
- Laia Codina (Barcelona)
- Olga Carmona (Real Madrid)
- Rocío Gálvez (Real Madrid)
- Teresa Abelleria (Real Madrid)
- Aitana Bonmatí (Barcelona)
- Irene Guerrero (Atlético Madrid)
- Jennifer Hermoso (Pachuca)
- Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)
- María Pérez (Barcelona)
- Claudia Zornoza (Real Madrid)
- Mariona Caldentey (Barcelona)
- Esther González (Real Madrid)
- Eva Navarro (Atlético Madrid)
- Alba Redondo (Levante)
- Salma Paraluello (Barcelona)
- Athenea de Castillo (Real Madrid)
The first name on the teamsheet has to be two-time Ballon d’Or winner and first Spanish woman to win 100 caps, Alexia Putellas. The Barcelona midfielder missed the Women’s Euro 2022 having suffered an ACL tear just before the tournament started. She returned at the season's end in time to play a small part in the Champions League final and scored in Spain’s most recent friendly.
Far from being centred around one player, the rest of the squad have proved their worth during Puetllas’ absence through injury. The side reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s Euro 2022 and qualified for this year’s World Cup with a perfect record, eight wins from eight scoring 53 goals and not conceding.
Barcelona’s Mariona Caldentey and Real Madrid’s Esther González were key in that qualifying campaign netting eight and nine goals respectively. Mariona, like her club teammate Putellas, missed a lot of the season through injury which is why Levante’s Alba Redondo also makes the list. The diminutive forward had a fantastic season for the Granotes netting 27 goals to bag the Pichichi award and steer her side to Champions League football with a third-place finish. All of this firepower and we still haven’t mentioned Jennifer Hermoso the all-time top scorer for the national team, the 33-year-old now plies her trade in Mexico with Pachuca but was an integral part of Barcelona’s recent success.
Defensively we see another Clásico couple in central defence with Irene Paredes (Barcelona) paired with captain Ivana Andrés (Real Madrid). Paredes has played 90 times for her country and was a pillar in the Blaugrana defence that only conceded 10 times in the league.
The main weakness could be between the sticks where the three goalkeepers have just 14 caps between them. Real Madrid’s Misa Rodríguez is tipped to start, she is the eldest of the trio aged 23. The more experienced Sandra Panos was left out, she had been one of the fifteen players that had withdrawn from selection during the dispute with the Spanish federation.
— Selección Española Femenina de Fútbol (@SEFutbolFem) July 23, 2023
Spain Women's World Cup Fixtures
Spain play all their group games on the North Island of New Zealand hopping between Wellington and Auckland. With less than 600 miles of travel they have one of the more comfortable schedules alongside the USWNT and Sweden. In fact, they would only leave the island should they reach a seventh game, either the Final or 3rd/4th Place Playoff.
- 21 July – Spain vs Costa Rica – Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington
- 26 July – Spain vs Zambia – Eden Park, Auckland
- 31 July – Japan vs Spain – Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington
Spain Women's World Cup Prediction
Despite the disruptions in the buildup, this is still the best Spanish side ever heading into a Women’s World Cup. Led by Putellas, who seems fully recovered from her ACL injury and boasts a strong presence of Barcelona and Real Madrid stars, there is genuine hope Spain can make history this summer.
The final group game against Japan will be a key indicator of Spain’s chances of success. If they were to beat the 2011 champions, it could see them with an easy route to the semi-finals.