Spain Women will begin their 2023 Women’s World Cup campaign on Friday morning (08.30) when they face off against Costa Rica Women at Wellington Regional Stadium.
Spain are set to make their third World Cup appearance, while Costa Rica are preparing to feature in the tournament for a second time.
Jorge Vilda’s side are aiming to put their quarter-final exit at last year’s European Championships behind them with solid preparations in the lead up to the tournament putting them in good stead – La Roja have won 10 of their last 11 games coming into the tournament.
Meanwhile, La Seleenter the competition for the second time in their history, hoping to build upon a third-place finish in the groups back in 2015, however, a tough first test awaits.
Vilda has recalled three players to his squad following a turbulent period which saw 15 members of the squad reportedly protest against the national setup and subsequently frozen out from selection.
The return of Barcelona trio Mariona Caldentey, Aitana Bonmati and new signing Ona Batlle are high-quality inclusions across the pitch.
Meanwhile, Katherine Alvarado will offer plenty of experience in the Costa Rica engine room with over 100 international caps to her name.
In addition, the involvement of top scorer Raquel Rodriguez will look to provide much-needed firepower in the final third.
Correct Score – Spain to win 3-0 @ 13/2
As mentioned, Spain are in excellent form coming into the competition, winning 10 of their last 11 international matches.
During that run, La Roja scored 18 goals across three games with no reply – 7-0 and 9-0 thumpings against Panama and Vietnam respectively warming up the shooting boots for this opening Group C clash.
It’s clear to see that Spain know where the back of the net is, and they have gone over 4.5 total goals in three of their last five matches.
I think La Roja will display their quality and put a marker down for the rest of tournament here.
Esther Gonzalez to be first goalscorer @ 12/5
Gonzalez scored 25 goals for Spain so far in 37 games, averaging 0.68 goals per game for the La Roja.
In seven of her 37 games for national team, Gonzalez scored two goals or more, so she knows where the back of the net is, and I’m expecting her to get chances and take advantage of a defence as vulnerable as Costa Rica’s.
Last season for Real Madrid, Gonzalez scored 16 goals in 27 league matches, so she has been in great form recently.