EPE: Spain will stick to their possession-based game despite almost missing out on the women’s Euro knock-out stages after group losses to England and Scotland, midfielder Vicky Losada said.
Tipped as one of the favourites to win the women’s Euro, Spain were one goal away from elimination as a 1-0 defeat to minnows Scotland on Thursday, coupled with a 2-0 defeat to England, meant they squeaked through to the knock-out stages only on goal difference.
“We had a lot of chances and we couldn’t score, we had maybe 15 long-distance shots,” said Losada from Spain’s training centre in the central Dutch town of Epe. “The Scottish keeper was really good, I think we had eight clear chances to score and we were a bit unlucky. It was hard for us to manage the situation, we were a bit nervous and we didn’t show our real game that we’ve been playing.”
Spain dominated possession in both games, with an impressive 74% against England and 69% against Scotland, but the goals did not come.
“I think we’ve been working since we were five years old on this philosophy of having long possession,” said Losada, who has spent most of the last 13 years with Barca, barring brief stints with Espanyol, Western New York Flash and Arsenal. “Our players always want the ball. That’s our philosophy, always have the ball and never give it away. But against England we missed a little bit of more direct football, and we’re trying to get better at that.”
In Sunday’s quarter-final in Tilburg, Spain will face Euro newcomers Austria, the tournament’s surprise package after topping their group following wins over Switzerland and Iceland and a 1-1 draw with France.
“We’re so happy now to be in the quarter-finals, we are one of the eight best teams of Europe, so we’re so proud as a team,” said Losada, who scored the first of Spain’s two goals in the tournament in the opening 2-0 win against Portugal.
She added it was time for Spain to start scoring against Austria, who are ranked 24th in the world to Spain’s 13th.
“All the teams that we’ve played against, they had two narrow lines — that’s been a problem for us, but we’ll try to be better in that side of the game, try to shoot from long distance and then have more chances [on the rebound]. That’s what we want to try to do if Austria decide to play with a really compact team.”
Losada was on the Spanish team that reached the Euro quarter-finals in 2013, but didn’t play in the 3-1 loss to Norway.
“When you play all or nothing, it’s easier. You just go to the pitch and we want to show our style, our game,” she said. “I can’t wait.”