All the suffering was worth it - Vilda

football20 August 2023 16:02| © AFP
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Jorge Vilda © Getty Images

The Spanish FA (RFEF) did not wait long after Spain won the Women's World Cup on Sunday before posting a pointed message on social media with a picture of coach Jorge Vilda kissing the trophy below the words "VILDA IN".

The 42-year-old's long tenure as coach was called into question last year when 15 national team players sent letters to the RFEF saying they would no longer play for Spain while Vilda remained coach.

The RFEF backed their coach and Vilda brought three of the mutineers back into the squad for the World Cup while freezing the others out and leaving them at home.

There is no way of knowing what a full-strength Spain might have achieved in New Zealand and Australia but the squad that did get on the plane were good enough to beat England 1-0 on Sunday and claim the biggest prize in the women's game.

"I've always said that if all the suffering was necessary to become world champions, it would be worth it," Vilda told reporters after the final.

"It's been difficult at a personal level in management but at a sporting level we've achieved results that we've never achieved before.

"I am very happy that we are champions of the world."

Luis Rubiales, the Spanish FA president, also suggested that he felt vindicated by Sunday's result.

"It is often said that it takes a little time to realise an achievement like this, but I am perfectly aware," he told reporters.

"We have worked very hard, although there were people who did not want to let us work. I think we have to learn in Spain to value positive things. To let people do their job.

"That small per centage of people who were constantly frustrated and resentful must learn that you have to let people work."

Vilda was asked about his management of twice Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas, who spent much of the tournament on the bench, and goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez, who was dropped for good after the 4-0 loss to Japan in the group stage.

"It's been very easy, in fact," he said. "We are a national team of players, but very quickly became a fabulous group, a fabulous team, and right now we are a family and we are world champions.

"The only way to achieve success is by working, working, working. That's how we've achieved it."

Vilda was asked about his own personal feelings about helping Spain to their first Women's World Cup triumph.

"Extreme happiness," he said. "We've made many millions of people that were watching us in our country happy.

"I feel very proud of my team of football players, not only those who've been here at the World Cup, but those who participated during the whole of the qualification rounds and training camps.

"I feel very proud of them and I feel very satisfied with the work that the staff has done."