Datebook: U.S. women to face Spain in Pamplona

Two-time defending World Cup champion USA will face off against Spain in a friendly in Pamplona on Oct. 11, four days after it plays European champion England at Wembley.

“Away matches against England and Spain are among the most difficult and high-profile friendlies a team can play,” said U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski.

The last time the USA played Spain was in the round of 16 at the 2019 World Cup in France, where the Americans won, 2-1, in a scrappy, humid affair. It will be the fourth meeting ever between the two sides.

Spain was four minutes away from beating England in the quarterfinals of this year’s European Championships but the Lionesses tied the game up in the 86th minute and won the game, 2-1, in overtime.

Spain’s women’s league, La Primera División, became fully professional this year. Popularity for the women’s game in Spain has proliferated in recent years and its national team has enjoyed a golden generation of talent and success after not qualifying for a women’s World Cup until 2015.

But after the European Championship,  several players reportedly requested that Coach Jorge Vilda be replaced. Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales, however, supported Vilda, stating that he would remain in charge through the 2023 World Cup.

Spain, which clinched a 2023 World Cup spot before the European Championship, finished its Group B player earlier this month with wins over Hungary (3-0) and Ukraine (5-0).

Spain’s only four defeats since their exit from the 2019 World Cup were to France (0-2, Aug. 31, 2019, friendly), USA (0-1, Mar. 8, 2020, SheBelieves Cup), Germany (0-2, July 12, 2022, European Championship group stage) and England (1-2, England, Jul. 20, 2022, European Championship quarterfinals).

“I know Spain fell short of their goals at the Euros, but they are a fantastic team with world class players all over the field,” said Andonovski. “As a coaching staff we are really looking forward to the challenges these two games will present for our team.”

In Brief:

The matchup: Two-time defending World Cup champion USA vs. European quarterfinalist Spain on Oct. 11 at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

The venue: The match will be the USA's second visit to Spain and first match in Pamplona, the town in northern Spain famous for its “Running of the Bulls.” El Sadar Stadium has a capacity of 23,576 and is home to LaLiga club Osasuna.

The series: USA leads with a 3-0-0 record.

Something’s got to give: It’s a showdown between two of the most in-form teams in women’s soccer. In the last 12 months, Spain has posted a 11-2-2 record, scoring 68 goals and conceding seven. In the same time period, the USA has scored 79 goals and conceded three, posting a 17-0-3 record.

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