Spain's women's U-20 side face Japan this evening in Brittany with the World Cup title on the line. The Asian side are one of the finest around and both teams faced each other in the group phase with Pedro Lopez's side securing a 1-0 win. The Spain side overcame Paraguay and drew with the always formidable US team which allowed them to top Group C. On their path to the final, they have seen off Nigeria and defeated the host nation France in the semi final in a dramatically tense encounter.
It's been far from an easy ride to get to today's game, losing Ona Batlle through injury and having to face Japan in the final without the suspended Aitana Bonmatí (who was awarded two yellow cards in the game against France) are added challenges. These key absences if anything will see the side gel together and from what we have seen in the competition thus far there is an excellent sense of team spirit within the squad. Ten of the team have played together in inferior age categories and together they have won U-17 and U-19 European championships. This is a team well versed with the pressures of playing in a major final.
The action gets underway this evening at 1930 CEST and Gol TV (in Spain) are covering the game along with Eurosport and I'll certainly be glued to the television looking for another fine display from Pedro Lopez's side. It reminds me of the previous Youth World Cup staged in Nigeria some years back where the likes of Casillas, Xavi and Marchena first came to the public eye on a major stage. There is a high level of anticipation that the girls can win the title tonight and both inspire a younger generation and pave the way for more success to come at full international level and I really hope they are successful. However, irrespective of the outcome of tonight's final, this Spain side have already made their mark in Brittany.