Wilda enjoys battle with ‘England’s best team’ as Spain aim to beat Wigman’s aces ahead of Euros

JORGE VILDA believes Spain could face the greatest team of Lionesses when the European giants go head-to-head in the Arnold Clark Cup.

The Carrow Road clash will be the first time England have come face-to-face with their rivals since Sarina Wigman’s reign began in September.

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Jorge Vilda sees Spain’s clash with England as the perfect training session for the Euro and facing the likes of Leah Williamson and Lucy Bronze.1 credit

Both teams are aiming for victory on Sunday afternoon after drawing with Germany and Canada.

Wilda, 40, said: “This is probably the best team in England ever. They have a lot of young people on the side.

“They have players across the field who can make a difference, especially on the left wing, a great striker and great players in Leah Williamson and Lucy Bronze.

“This is a team that will pressure us early with high press.

“And when we get the ball in their half of the field, it’s a team that offers very skillful defense in depth to dispel the opponent’s threats.

“In general, I expect the game to be played at a very high pace, with a lot of intensity, like in the Women’s Super League.”

Spain, who are the eighth best team in the world, have won two of their last four games against their hosts since Wilda was named manager in 2015.

And the team won six of the six World Cup qualifiers they played last year, including an 8-0 thrashing of Scotland in November.

Vilda has 10 Barcelona aces in his squad, including players from the starting line-up that beat Chelsea in last season’s Champions League final.

And Spain’s boss sees their clash in front of Lionesses fans as the perfect preparation for the ordeal they will face in England hosting the Euros this summer.

Like their rivals, Spain have yet to win a major tournament, and the 1997 European Championship semi-final was the furthest they have ever achieved.

In England'S Clash With Spain, They Could Face Several Barcelona Stars, Including Aitana Bonmati.

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In England’s clash with Spain, they could face several Barcelona stars, including Aitana Bonmati.1 credit

Vilda added: “We like to play in such an atmosphere against great opponents.

“Besides, the Euro is held in England, which is a great preparation for this tournament, because we know exactly what it will be like to play in these stadiums in such conditions.

“As for what we can be afraid of in the England team, we are not particularly afraid of anything.

“We know what their strengths are – we know they have a lot of them – but we also know their weaknesses.”

Spain’s starting line-up is likely to include 28-year-old Alexia Putellas, who won the 2021 Ballon d’Or after a string of outstanding performances last season.

I believe we have improved a lot since the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. Now we are the best team.

Alexia Puttellas

The Barcelona midfielder scored the winning goal as her national team beat the Lionesses 1-0 in the SheBelieves Cup match in March 2020.

Putellas admitted that Spain’s results against the hosts have not always been favorable, as England won the last time the teams faced off in a major tournament.

Back in 2017, the Lionesses beat their rivals 2-0 in a Euro group stage match with Fran Kirby and Jody Taylor on goal.

But the Women’s La Liga star, who has made 94 caps, is hoping for a different result this time around.

Alexia Putellas Thinks Spain Have Improved Since Their Last Clash With England In March 2020 At The Shebelievescup.

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Alexia Putellas thinks Spain have improved since their last clash with England in March 2020 at the SheBelievesCup.1 credit

Puttellas said: This is going to be a high quality competition and we need to be at the top of our game to win.

“England will come with a game plan and be pretty determined, hard to break and hard to beat.

“We didn’t always beat them when we played them. We haven’t always been lucky.

“I believe we have improved a lot since the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. Now we are the best team.”

Arnold Clark Cup Schedule

February 20 – Carrow Road, Norwich.

15:15 – England v Spain – ITV

20:15 – Canada v Germany – ITV4

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