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Spain winning U17 women's World Cup fills us with pride

The qualifying draw for the European Championship yesterday in Dublin did not throw up too much trouble for Spain, with Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands and Malta making up the group. Luis Enrique even commented that he would have liked to have drawn Germany, just to put some spice into the upcoming qualifying campaign. Without it, it is true that, in hindsight, the Uefa Nations League will have brought us excitement that we will now miss.

But the real great news for Spanish football came twelve hours before, with the U17 women's team winning the World Cup in Montevideo, after beating Mexico in the final. Whoever didn’t see it doesn’t know what they missed. It was a fine example of the great football that characterizes all Spain’s underage categories. Claudia Pina is a magnificent spearhead, a relentless goal scorer with the face of a young actress from a teenage high school series. Eva Navarro is devastating on the wing, while Irene López controls things with wisdom in the centre. Also their coach must be mentioned, Toña Is, who put a firm hand over a harmonious team, which performed well in all facets of the game.

"Where did those girls come from?" a friend asked me yesterday. The answer: through many years of work done well by the people who invested in this project years ago. When women's football first appeared here back in the seventies, it was the object of ridicule. But yesterday these girls who conquered Mexico in Montevideo show us how much we have changed.