‘Angry’ Spain promise response to World Cup drubbing
Vilda is confident his squad laden with world-class quality will regroup for a last-16 clash with Switzerland.
Spain players huddle after the end of the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women’s World Cup Group C football match against Japan at Wellington Stadium, also known as Sky Stadium, in Wellington on Monday. (Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP)
Spain coach Jorge Vilda says his “angry” players can shake off the mental scars of a 4-0 mauling from Japan and be a force in the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup.
ALSO READ: Zambia sign off with first World Cup goal and win
The sixth-ranked Spanish were left shell-shocked by a Japan side who topped Group C with a brilliant counter-attacking display in Wellington on Monday, handing the Europeans their heaviest defeat in 11 years.
Vilda is confident his squad laden with world-class quality will regroup for a last-16 clash with Switzerland in Auckland on Saturday.
“I have no doubt whatsoever that our team is going to react, that the attitude against Switzerland is going to be a different attitude,” he said.
“It’s the round of 16 at the World Cup and no one should lose hope.
“Mentally, of course, this has done some damage. It hurts, they are angry and I’m convinced that they’ll be ready to compete. We will see in five days’ time.
“We’re not accustomed to this in my time with the team.”
ALSO READ: Nigeria into World Cup last 16 and likely date with England
Vilda ruefully admired how well Japan coped with his team’s trademark possession game, which had been effective in comfortable group wins over Zambia and Costa Rica.
Despite operating with about three-quarters of possession, Spain rarely threatened the goal, while they were repeatedly stung by Japan on the break.
“They got to the ball before we did and they closed every possible space that we had,” Vilda said.
“Every time they took the ball away from us they had a counter-attack. They started a counter-attack with very little effort.”