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Athenea del Castillo plays 23 minutes in 2-0 defeat to Germany

Couldn’t do much in her limited minutes off the bench

Athenea del Castillo didn’t get many touches on the ball.
Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

Germany put on a counter-attacking masterclass against a Spain side that could simply find no way to unlock the German defence, beating La Roja 2-0 thanks to goals from Klara Bühl and Alexandra Popp. Germany have made it two wins out of two in the group stage, and are pretty much confirmed to be table-toppers in Group B.

Even though Spain played well in the first half, both the goals were conceded inside the first 45. Germany broke the deadlock in the third minute after a howler from Spain goalkeeper Sandra Paños, who passed the ball straight into the legs of Bühl. She expertly controlled it, took a turn away from Irene Paredes, and drove the ball low into the far corner.

The second goal came from a corner by Felicitas Rauch in the 36th minute, which was flicked on by Popp. It was great to see Popp score in back-to-back games, and also on her very first start in a European Championship game, having missed the 2013 and 2017 editions due to injury.

Spain had the lion’s share of possession, keeping the ball 70% of the game. They also somehow had a higher xG (1.4) than Germany (0.8), yet couldn’t manage to find the back of the net. The best chance fell to Mariona Caldentey, whose point-blank volley was tremendously saved by Merle Frohms.

Spain tried to recycle the ball to the wide areas rather than going gung-ho on goal, which probably cost them. Plus, they missed the services of both Jenni Hermoso and Alexia Putellas dearly. This loss also brings an end to Spain’s incredible 24-game unbeaten streak, which dates back to March 2020.

Coming to Athenea del Castillo’s performance, there’s not much to write about honestly. She came on in the 70th minute, but barely had any touches on the ball during her 23-minute cameo off the bench.

If you watched the game, you would’ve noticed how the ball-carriers totally ignored Athenea - who was playing on the left wing - every time she raised her hand asking for the ball. It’s pretty clear that she could’ve had the most impact of any substitute that came on for Spain had she received the ball more often from her teammates.

Anyway, Spain will next face Denmark in their third and final Group B encounter. Both Spain and Denmark have three points from two games, and with Germany already through to the next round, this match-up becomes a virtual knockout game.

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