Marta Cardona was the only Real Madrid Femenino player who featured in Spain’s 1-0 friendly victory over The Netherlands.
Spain lined up in their oft-seen back three, with “true” wingers Marta Cardona and Mariona Caldentey on the flanks in place of typical fullbacks, such as Ona Batlle, Marta Corrdera, or Leila Ouahabi.
It was an aggressive move and signaled Spain’s desire to dominate proceedings and take the game to their opponents.
The Netherlands also went fairly offensive in their selection and ended up defending primarily in the uncommon 4-3-3 mid-block, with Lieke Martens, Jill Roord, and Vivianne Miedema staying high and narrow. This may have had dual objectives: blocking off central passing lanes and ensuring that counter-attacking outlets existed as soon as the ball was won.
Whatever the intention, Sarina Wiegman’s plan didn’t really work. Though it did take some time for Spain to figure out the opposing shape, Alexia Putellas and Mariona soon began to interchange and combine to progress play down the left. In probably the best sequence of the match, Alexia rotated out wide in the 20th minute and executed a backheel pass down the line, eventually resulting in a Jenni Hermoso shot that barely went wide.
Spain broke the Netherland’s resistance at the half hour mark off of a corner kick. Patri Guijarro may have been just offside but the refs didn’t call it.
The second half saw little adjustment from the Netherlands in terms of defensive approach and Spain experienced an even more comfortable half of football. La Furia Roja perhaps got too snug in the final minutes, allowing Vivianne Miedema to plant a cross onto the head of her teammate from close range, but Shanice van de Sanden couldn’t make anything of it.
Marta Cardona’s Performance
Cardona was mostly uninvolved for the majority of the first half, as Spain focused play around the Mapi-Alexia-Mariona nexus. However, Madrid’s #11 showed her quality the few times she got to free her legs and go 1v1.
It was a sign of what was to come, as Cardona got more touches in the 2nd half and created a number of opportunities that probably should’ve been put away.
She was subbed off for Leila in the 84th minute, having showed her quality despite not managing a goal contribution.