Selma Baralelo, World Cup road runner for Spain

Salma leads the ball in the match against Costa Rica.Amanda Perubelli (Reuters)

beep beepRoadrunner taunted and taunted Looney Tunes Every time he threw away the malevolent and hungry plans of the wolf, who now and then fell off a cliff or was crushed by an anvil, always sick because he could not pounce on his opponent. Something similar happened in Spain’s World Cup opening match against Costa Rica (3-0), since then Selma Baralelo (Zaragoza, 19 years old) It turned out to be a bullet in the left lane that no one could hook into a ring, prof runner By foot, bankruptcy, middle, and lead. “I’m happy with the team’s performance and also because I’m looking good, but I stayed with a thorn because I didn’t score,” she mused from the mixed area at Wellington Regional Stadium, where it was so cold, for one, teammate Jenny Hermoso was shivering as a greeting. But they all, yeah, grinned from ear to ear because the plan, as Hannibal Smith puts it in Team Aall goes well.

Coach Jorge Vilda indicated, during the past week, a quarter of an hour after the team opened the doors of its training sessions to the media. The need for football to be freed from the wings against Costa Rica, Because the opponent will give up the ball to express himself against it. The words he later accompanied with pictures in repeated video sessions. “We knew they would come back with low mass, so the solution was out there,” Teresa Apelera says. “The idea was to look for one-on-ones on the flanks, play deep and hang the balls in the area. We followed the plan meticulously,” Olga Carmona adds. “But to get them into the area we had to move the ball quickly, open it up and pass it in, although sometimes we were also looking to go in for a changeup.”

Hence, Spain was a splash of lime line, Since it has implemented 70 centers in the region – For five from Costa Rica – 29 arrived at a successful port. Jenny Hermoso agrees: “It was just that, trying to hit slashes and lateral crosses to get into the penalty area from behind.” “That’s why we trained in so many positions over the course of the week,” reveals Alba Redondo. “Although obviously we can improve at shooting, also with shots from outside the area”, admitted Vilda, knowing that the team kicked 46 times and only 12 were on target; Three to the goal But no more trouble was put in by the coach, who wanted to highlight Salma as the best brush cutter, and he Speedy Gonzalez with boots. He congratulated him “Not only does he have pace, he’s got good footwork, he has a one-on-one, he shares it, he plays well in small spaces… he played a good game”.

But Salma is going through a difficult time, they have known her for a long time in the national team, although her reluctance to choose which sport to choose shocked them, because at the age of fifteen everyone suggested that she choose one and she refused. Thus, he alternated between ball and athletics, proficient in both arts, because at the age of 16 he won a European Championship and a football World Cup with the lower categories of the Spanish team, while destroying records in the 400m – he has, for example, the best national under-20 mark of 53.83 seconds – on tartan. He liked the two so much that he didn’t even think about them in April 2021, when he collapsed, already in a Villarreal shirt, the Crusaders, a slap that prevented him from attending the Tokyo Games. But the last call from Barcelona was final. “It’s a team that used to follow me from the lower categories, but that didn’t allow me to combine football and athletics. For me at the time that wasn’t an option. Although there was a point in my life that I had to decide and be in Barcelona, ​​which is the best team in the world… I had to go “, she recently realized. as diary. “I don’t regret it, but I will always have the question of what path I would have been on in athletics. I’m still an athlete, and that will never change about me.” And Spain is enjoying it as it showed against Costa Rica, unstoppable in its footballing career and dribbling.

“I’m sure she’s one of the fastest in the World Cup. As long as she has space…they don’t catch her, she can’t be stopped,” Esther Gonzalez praises. Salma has strength, speed and verticality that few have. We are very lucky to have her, to see her grow, and I’m sure she has a lot to offer,” explains Alba Redondo. “She’s a different player. I know that I can look for it from space or from the foot, that it has a diagonal and a bud … We will play together for many years and continue to enjoy it”, Aitana intervenes. Salma is showing. She has a lot of versatility in the open field and the ball at her feet is very good. “We have to take advantage of it,” Teresa Apelera adds. Although Jenny Hermoso explains: “It’s one of our strengths and we’re trying to find it, but it won’t be the whole game playing this game. You don’t have to put more pressure on it.”

But the whole team covers it and When he plays with Olga Carmona from behind They understand each other wonderfully. “If she’s in front of me, I’m very happy because I know what potential she has and because it’s very easy to get along with her. We have robotic movements and communication is very good. Obviously, that would give us a lot of joy “, agrees the ward, who also highlights her cheerful personality:” She is wonderful and one of the most people I get along with because we are together all day. She is a girl who smiles all day and she is a sweetheart.” Abelera thinks the same: “He’s someone who’s always smiling and a good boy vibrations. In addition, he is very humble and always there to contribute.” He is the Roadrunner of Spain. beep beep.

American forward Sophia Smith has no end

“You’re next,” North American forward Sophia Smith, 22, defies in a recent Nike ad that shows competition in every way possible while riding the bus to the stadium. He does it on a billboard, on his mobile phone, in the locker room… “I’m happy to beat you,” he finishes the tagline. And it is not without reason that the football player signed a dream season with the Portland Thorns in the NFL, the MVP of the tournament and in the game for the title, the American Federation chose him for the best player of the year – she became the youngest to achieve this since Mia Hamm in 1994 – having scored 11 goals with the national team. Against Vietnam (3-0), Smith repeated the story.

A quarter of an hour earlier he had already scored the first goal after a pass from Alex Morgan, who later missed a penalty kick. But the thing did not stop there, because he scored a second before the break and gave the third to Horan. Two goals and one assist, the best appearance by an American in a World Cup, and that says a lot because the team has won four of the eight it has played. But Sofia, who has the 11th on her back, had already warned before traveling to the World Cup: “From day one I am a winner. I must win.” For now, it has not failed.

The one who didn’t miss the shot was Japan, who destroyed rough and unstructured Zambia (0-5) in the other duel of the group in Spain.

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