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Nine Madridistas feature for Spain; Svava and Kathellen complete 90 minutes

Nahikari plays for Spain for the first time as Madridista.

RFEF (@sefutbolfem)

Netherlands 2-0 Denmark

By: Yash Thakur

Denmark played their second and final friendly against Netherlands, as a part of their buildup towards the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. They won the first friendly with a scoreline of 2-1 against Switzerland.

Denmark started out in their typical 3-4-3 with Signe Bruun leading the attack coming in for Pernille Harder, who picked up an injury last game. Amalie Vangsgaard was given a starting place as well after an impressive run domestically.

Netherlands started out with a back 3 of their own. Veteran midfielder Sherida Spitse was starting in defense. The frontline was comprised of Lieke Martens, Lineth Beerensteyn and Victoria Pelova.

The Dutch came out strong and kept the pressure on Denmark for the entirety of the game. The idea to match Denmark’s back 3 with a back 3 worked really well as Denmark’s press wasn’t that great. Netherlands found is very easy to play through the minimal and disorganized pressure by Denmark.

After threatening the goal, a couple of times in the opening quarter of the game, Netherlands scored their first in the 26th minute via a freekick. The delivery from Spitse was right at the heart of the box and it took a touch from Dominique Janssen, albeit unaware, to take it past Christensen.

The Dutch continued to look positive and create chances from open play as well as set-pieces. Spitse’s freekicks were a genuine weapon that the Danish struggled to deal with. They hit the crossbar as well in the first 45 minutes.

The second half continued in the same vein and Netherlands doubled their lead early on in the second half via Beerensteyn, who displayed good feet to keep the keeper rooted to the spot and find the bottom corner. The goal highlighted another area of concern that was exploited by the Dutch in the game. The space between the CBs and the wingbacks was targeted by the Dutch frequently in order to create chances.

They dominated possession and territory throughout the game, recording 18 shots compared to Denmark’s 6 in the game. They were physically outclassed as well in their duels and the game ended 2-0.

Svava played the complete 90 minutes and had a non-impactful game. The battle between Wilms and Svava was largely dominated by the former. She looked defensively vulnerable and was locked down well and denied space to cross when attacking. Her performance was certainly a by-product of Denmark’s poor structure on and off-the-ball. She had some ball carrying moments but ultimately failed to create threat from her on-ball actions.

Brazil 2-1 Canada

By: Kani Froh

Brazil and Canada have tied each other in the mini tournament they held between each other for the last international break of 2022. After Canada beat Brazil 1:2 the previous week, Brazil struck back with another 2:1, but with a much more dynamic game than their previous encounter.

Real Madrid’s Kathellen Sousa started and played 90 minutes. She made the center back duo together with Bayern’s Tainara, with Bruninha and Tamires supporting them on the sides. Kerolin, Borges and Adriana made the midfield, with Kerolin taking the role of 10. Geyse and Bia started on the wings, with Debinha leading the attack in center.

The game was more or less equal in the first half. Except for Canada’s total 8 shots versus Brazil’s 4, out of which it was 2 vs 1 on target for Canada, neither side showed total dominance in any point of the game. Brazil scored from their only attempt on target in 42’. Bia Zaneratto scored after a recovery at the half-way line from Kerolin who continued to run to the box, pausing in front of it to dribble and only then passing to Bia who put it in for 1:0.

When it comes to Kathellen, she didn’t play much of an important role in this match as she was almost never the last line of defense and always participated in the attacking set-pieces. She committed a foul that gave Canada a freekick in the second minute which was easily cleared by the defense. However, besides that mistake, Kathellen had a good distribution and reaction time which she showed when the ball hit the bottom part of the crossbar, bouncing off the Brazilian goalkeeper on the goal line and Kathellen kicking it out immediately. Kathellen was also present in the opponent’s box at all times during corner kicks which were mostly done by Tamires.

The second half brought us a lot more excitement on the Canadian goal as the Brazilian team made 6 more shots out of which 5 of those were on target. Ludmila entering for Bia in 64’ gave Brazil much faster counter attacks and runs that they needed to open up their game. Debinha also created a lot of danger.

Canada equalized after 15 minutes into the second half from a penalty taken by Lawrence and given away by Geyse.

Kathellen stopped a couple of counter attacks near the sidelines, also saving the ball from becoming a corner kick for Canada in a fabulous fashion. In 76’ she also tried to go for a header in Canada’s box after Tamires took a corner. The Brazilian goalkeeper, Sheridan, managed to jump over her and box it away.

In the last minutes of the match, the minute 90+2’ Brazil scored a winner taken from a corner to Gabi Nunes whose header attempt was saved by Sheridan, only for Ana Vitória to be positioned right in front of the goalkeeper to push it in for the final score of 2:1.

Kathellen didn’t play in Brazil’s last encounter with Canada making these 90 minutes the total number of minutes played this international break.

Spain 1-0 Japan

By: Kani Froh

After Spain’s goal frenzy against Argentina last Saturday which ended 7:0, this game was rather gruesome to watch. However, that was all on their opponents being much stronger than the team they previously played and Spain simply not being ready for it.

Interestingly enough, these two teams face each other in the group stage of the Women’s World Cup 2023.

Eight Madridistas found their place in the starting XI. Misa returned to the goal after Enith Salón’s debut in the last game; then Olga, Rocío and Ivana together with Atlético’s Sheila García in the defensive line. The midfield was completely Madridista - with Zornoza, Maite and Teresa, while Athenea joined Redondo and Cardona in the attack.

The biggest threat to the Spanish defense was definitely Mina Tanaka and it was through the right side of Spain’s goal that Japan caused the most damage during the first half as Sheila, who was replaced by Oihane at halftime, and the Real Madrid defense didn’t quite manage to click. The game started with Spain attacking for the first couple of minutes until Japan took over. That is, until Spain scored out of almost nothing. Claudia Zornoza shot from the distance of one quarter of the field which hit the crossbar and landed near Alba Redondo after making a run to the box, putting the ball into the net for 1:0.

Misa shone with her newly assigned number 1 on the back. She made quite a few crucial saves, the most important of which was at 19’ when she had Tanaka in front all alone after the pass from the right wing opened up the passage for the Japanese striker. Sheila came first to the scene blocking Tanaka’s second shot.

Rocío had to intervene against Tanaka a few minutes later, at 28’, stopping the striker right before the entrance to the box, making a clean tackle. The center back had a decent game overall, making a few immediate clearances and interventions such as the mentioned tackle. Ivana, however, misplaced quite a few passes after which Oroz or Teresa would mostly go to win it back.

Athenea didn’t have much impact on the game. The midfield was the most impactful part of Spain’s match, with Oroz shining as her usual self in the recoveries and ball distribution. Teresa’s recoveries aren’t to be ignored either, neither is her longshot at 23’ which was quite a challenge to catch for the Japanese goalkeeper Yamashita.

Olga’s control and defending was notable, however she and Athenea failed to connect on the left side. She also had a notable longshot attempt, similar to Teresa’s but 11 minutes later. Big part of her defending was in holding up Japan’s frontline slowing down their attacks and making it much easier for Misa to get to the lost balls.

Teresa played 71 minutes after which she was replaced by Fiamma on pitch. In the same minute, Nahikari came on for Redondo, playing her first 20 minutes with the national team since she came to Real Madrid, in more than a year and a half. The striker didn’t have any chances as the gameplay failed to progress but by bringing her pressing and ball shielding from how she plays in Madrid, she helped the game moving in Spain’s favor.

The match was quite physical, with a lot of freekicks given to the Japanese side who at the end had 13 shots and 6 on target vs Spain’s 6/3. Spain committed 19 fouls including 2 yellow cards by Maite and Athenea, while Japan committed only 5.

Maite played 88 minutes, being subbed off for a debutant María Pérez. The rest of Madridistas - Misa, Ivana, Olga, Rocío, Zornoza and Athenea played full 90.

With these 3 games and 11 Madridistas playing the same day, we conclude international football for the 2023 year.

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