Spanish line up France in Nations League final, but Bonmati says her country isn’t with the programme

February 28 – World Cup winners Spain can cement their dominance of the women’s game with victory in the inaugural Nations League final against France tonight in Seville. 

Last summer, the Spanish claimed their first global crown, defeating England in the final of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the end of a four-week rollercoaster in New Zealand and Australia, and on Wednesday, the world champions can add the Nations League title to their name.

However, Spain’s rise to prominence on the world stage was overshadowed by Spanish football federation boss Luis Rubiales’s forced kiss on midfielder Jenni Hermoso. Rubiales was banned from the game and will also face trial at home in Spain.

Despite the storm of indignation and condemnation, leading player Aitana Bonmati believes that the ordeal has not been a catalyst for change. “Unfortunately I can’t say a lot of things have changed,” said Bonmati said in an interview with French sports daily L’Equipe.

“We have the example of the English, when they won the Euro (in 2022). We saw a real change following their success at a nationwide level.

“It had repercussions, and there was more investment in the domestic league. The stadiums are full when England play. It makes me jealous because I can’t say the same thing has happened here. There are still so many things to do here and I have the impression that the World Cup has not served any purpose.”

Last week, the Spanish defeated Netherlands 3-0 in the semi-finals to book a ticket to the Olympic Games in Paris. In the other last four encounter, France eliminated Germany 2-1. As France are the hosts of the Olympic Games, the third-place playoff takes on greater significance with the last European spot to the summer event at stake.

Elsewhere, the promotion and relegation playoffs provided mostly mammoth aggregate scores with Belgium, Iceland, Norway, Northern Ireland, Slovakia and Ukraine avoiding relegation.

Belgium defeated Hungary 5-1 for a second consecutive time, Norway put five past Croatia as well to run up an 8-0 aggregate score and Iceland edged past Serbia 3-2 on aggregate to remain in League A.

Sweden will seek to confirm their spot in the top-tier league when they face Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday, having won the first leg 5-0. The results will have a direct impact on the draw for the Euro 2025 qualifiers, which takes place on March 5.

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