From mutiny to history: How crisis-hit Spain defied the odds to reach the Women’s World Cup final


A year ago, England crushed Spain's dream of becoming European champions. La Roja conceded a late equaliser in their quarter-final meeting in Brighton and then lost the game in extra-time. A year on, things have gone a little differently.

Spain conceded late equalisers to both the Netherlands and Sweden in their Women's World Cup quarter-final and semi-final, respectively, but would go on to emerge victorious in both matches. On paper, it looks like pretty simple progress, right? A team that has learned from the past, grown and got better. But the 12 months in between these two tournaments, the latter of which has seen Spain make history by reaching a first Women’s World Cup final, could not be much more complicated.

In that time, this team has been surrounded by off-pitch chaos, by player unavailability, by many expressing a desire for change within. Their World Cup squad, even, is without 12 top-quality names that have withdrawn from selection due to situations that have affected their "emotional and personal state".

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And yet, Spain have made history and find themselves on the brink of even more. In New Zealand, they won a World Cup knockout match for the first time, reached the last four for the first time and then secured their spot in a first-ever final. Now, they'll fly over the Tasman Sea and land in Australia with hopes of winning the whole thing, hoping to get revenge against England in Sydney on Sunday.

With everything that has happened in the last year, how on earth have they achieved all of this? And can they continue to defy the odds by winning the Women's World Cup?