Spain manager Jorge Vilda during a press conference at Stadium Australia. Alamy Stock Photo
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Spain coach refuses to answer questions on his relationship with players

Jorge Vilda has guided the country to their first final amid a backdrop of controversy.

SPAIN HEAD coach Jorge Vilda batted away questions about his country’s absent stars on the eve of their World Cup final clash with England.

Vilda has guided Spain to their first final amid a backdrop of controversy and rows over the treatment of the team.

The showpiece game in Sydney takes place on Sunday morning, less than a year after 15 players staged a mutiny.

The arguments, which broke out in September last year, threatened to derail Spain’s hopes before an uneasy peace was brokered ahead of the World Cup.

Dubbed ‘Las 15’, the players who walked away were Patri Guijarro, Aitana Bonmati, Mapi Leon, Mariona Caldentey, Sandra Panos, Claudia Pina, Lola Gallardo, Ainhoa Moraza, Nerea Eizagirre, Amaiur Sarriegi, Lucia Garcia, Ona Batlle, Leila Ouahabi, Laia Aleixandri and Andrea Pereira.

If an accommodation has been reached, it appears to be a delicate one. Only three members of the 15 – Bonmati, Caldentey and Batlle – were included in Vilda’s squad for the finals.

Despite the unrest and uncertainty, Spain have made it through to the final following a late win over Sweden in the last four.

Asked early on at his pre-match press conference about the relations between himself and some of his players, Vilda replied: “Next question please.”

Pushed on whether not having some key players in Australia made him “sad”, Vilda seemingly ignored the line of questioning.

“What we want to do tomorrow is to be the best in the world and we’ll do this by winning the final,” he said.

Spain lost 2-1 to England after extra-time at the quarter-final of the Euros last summer as the Lionesses went on to lift the trophy on home soil, with Sarina Wiegman and her players looking to add further silverware on Sunday.

“It was a game that we know we were on top, but the result is what counts,” Vilda said of the loss at the Amex Stadium,

“Games against England really require our best. She (Wiegman) is a trainer that with her results has shown the fruits of her work, it’s not easy what she has achieved.

“You don’t achieve this without excellent preparation and star players. It will be a tactical match and it’s a final that we’re going to fight with everything.”

Press Association
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