Another rematch from the Women’s World Cup knock-out stages finished in Spain’s favor. After beating Sweden in the first matchday, Spain had to face Switzerland in the second matchday of the Nations League - the rival they faced in the round of 18 of the world cup.
Five Real Madrid players featured in this match out of whom 3 were in the starting lineup. Montse Tomé put up an almost identical lineup from the Sweden game, with only two changes to it. The formation stayed a classical 4-3-3, with Eva Navarro replacing Athenea and Oihane replacing Ona Battlle on the right-hand side. Olga, Paredes and Aleixandri joined Oihane in defense with Cata Coll on goal. The Aitana-Teresa-Alexia midfield stayed the same and this time Lucía García lead the attack as well with Mariona and Navarro on the wings.
Spain played their usual game - relying on possession. Teresa in her pivot position was stopping Switzerland from gaining any control in Spain’s half. La Roja started with attacking, mostly through Mariona on the left hand-side. In 15’ Mariona went 1-on-1 with Herzog, managing to beat her in this duel but in the meantime a defender came to take the ball away from her. In that moment, Lucía García was running in, completely open on the right side of the penalty area and when Mariona lost the control of the ball, it rolled to García who put it in to make it 1-0.
The world champions went on to attack for the rest of the half. Switzerland was trying to balance out the game, but unsuccessfully. At the end of the first half, Olga sent in a direct cross to Aitana in the middle of the box where she kicked it into the net in the air.
At halftime, Navarro and García were replaced by Athenea and Inma Gabarro respectively. Spain got another goal early on into the second half. At 49’ Alexia defeated the Swiss defense in the box after which she passed to Aitana to score the third goal of the match.
Eight minutes later, Athenea noticed an almost empty goal, with only Herzog in her position. She tried her luck shooting a fast rocket, but it was straight to Herzog’s hands, who then couldn’t catch it for Inma to be positioned perfectly to score from the rebound.
Twenty minutes until the end, Maite replaced Abelleira, and took advantage of her minutes on the pitch. The last goal came in the finishing minutes of the match. At 87’, the corner taken from the left side of Spain’s attack bounced off Aleixandri’s head and came to Maite who shot a daring rocket from outside of the penalty area.
“For me, wearing this shirt is a pride and a luxury and scoring this goal is even more so,” Maite talks about her goal in a post-match interview.
Spain are now top of the group with all 6 points won and they still have to face Italy in the first round of group stage matches.