WOMEN'S FOOTBALL | ROMANIA-SPAIN
Leila, Claudia, Andrea and Esther ready to debut with Vilda's Spain
Leila Ouahabi, Claudia Zornoza, Andrea Pereira and Esther González could make their senior debuts in Friday's friendly against Romania in Mogosoaia.
As Jorge Vilda said when he took over the reins as coach of Spain's Women's team back in July last year, "The national team is open to all players who show that they deserve a place in the squad". Seven months down the line, the coach has kept his promise and has included a crop of new faces in his list for Friday's friendly meeting with Romania in Mogoşoaia (15:00 hours CET). The game, and Tuesday's friendly against Scotland in Falkirk (19:00 CET), will be an opportunity for Vilda to take a closer look at four players - all of whom could gain their first cap at full international level, as Spain step up their preparations for the next round of EURO 2017 qualifiers against Portugal and the Republic of Ireland in April.
Spain sit at the top of Group 2 with flawless figures - four wins from four and will be keen to maintain that momentum in competitive games against other nations who are equally determined to be at Holland 2017 - Romania lie second in Group 3, behind France, with 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat; Scotland meanwhile top Group 1, and like Spain, with a clean sweep of wins.
Valencia CF Femenino players - left-back Leila Ouahabi and midfielder Claudia Zornoza; RCD Espanyol defender Andrea Pereira and Atlético Féminas striker Esther González have been given their first call-up by Jorge Vilda. All of them have experience in the lower categories and trained with the Spain squad under previous coach Ignacio Quereda.
After Barcelona, Atlético Féminas are the club to contribute most players to Spain's women's national teamsat their various levels. Valencia striker Mari Paz Vilas 'Mapi' is ruled out through injury which opens the door for Esther González, who joins up with Atlético Féminas team mates, goalkeeper Lola Gallardo and midfielder Amanda Sampedro.
Spain will be without two of their most experienced players for the Romania game - Vero Boquete and Sonia Bermúdez, but another La Roja veteran makes her return Barcelona midfielder Miriam Diéguez who has been drafted to replace Atlético Féminas' Silvia Meseguer, who was dropped from the list on Monday after suffering an injury.
Spain beat Romania in both of the previous two meetings, winning 1-0 and 0-2 in the World Cup Canada qualifiers. Included in Mirel Albon's Romania side is a player who knows the Spanish league well - Levante UD Femenino defender Olivia Oprea.
The Spain squad:
Lola Gallardo (Atlético Féminas)
Sandra Paños (Barcelona)
Irene Paredes (Athletic)
Marta Torrejón (Barcelona)
Ruth García (Barcelona)
Leila El Ouahabi (Valencia)
Alexandra López (Rayo Vallecano)
Andrea Pereira (Espanyol)
Vicky Losada (Arsenal Ladies)
Marta Corredera (Arsenal Ladies)
Miriam Diéguez (Barcelona)
Virginia Torrecilla (Montpellier)
Jenni Hermoso (Barcelona)
Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)
Amanda (Atlético Féminas)
Olga García (Barcelona)
Claudia Zornoza (Valencia)
Esther González (Atlético Féminas)
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