Jorge Vilda has spoken about his pride over Spain’s performance against England despite suffering a 2-1 extra-time loss and exiting Euro 2022 at the quarter-final stage.
La Roja had led 1-0 until the 84th minute thanks to Esther Gonzalez’s goal shortly after the restart, and had arguably been the better side for the opening hour.
However, a late Ella Toone equaliser and stunning Georgia Stanway winner in extra-time condemned Spain to defeat, and means the nation are still without a knockout win in a major women’s international tournament.
“It’s a disappointing defeat and disappointing to go out of this competition,” said Vilda. “If there’s a good way to lose, it’s by playing the sort of game that my players have done tonight.
“We are all very proud of what we saw on the pitch. Everyone has improved. We gave everything. It wasn’t to be. We have to keep our heads held high and we’ll analyse it further going forward.”
Spain had been heralded as one of the pre-tournament favourites due to possessing the spine of Barcelona’s all-conquering side and enjoying considerable success at youth level over the last decade – much of which has been overseen by Vilda.
However, record goalscorer Jenni Hermoso was ruled out of Euro 2022 through injury the month prior to the championship getting underway, before star player Alexia Putellas then ruptured her ACL on the eve of the tournament.
The absences of Hermoso and Putellas were really felt, with Spain lacking a cutting edge in the final third. Although they dominated possession in each of their four Euro 2022 outings – the passing and movement of their midfielders was mesmerising at times and Aitana Bonmati impressed in particular – there was largely no obvious goal threat.
“There’s a bright future based on what we’ve seen at this tournament,” added Vilda. “We’ll assess it over the next few days and see where we can improve. We can improve.”