Star-studded Spain stun Panama in Avilés

With preparations for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup beginning to ramp up, Spain hosted Panama at the Estadio Román Suárez Puerta on Thursday. With several players making themselves available for selection once again ahead of this summer’s tournament, Jorge Vilda had plenty of talent to choose from.

ESP: Misa; Carmona, Fernández, Codina, Batlle; Navarro, Putellas, Pérez, Guerrero, Cardona; E. González

PAN: Bailey; Jaén, Baltrip-Reyes, Pinzón, Espinosa, Castillo; Cox, S. González, Montenegro, Mills; Riley

Spain were expected to dominate this match, and it took just seven minutes for Esther González to open the scoring – rising highest from Irene Guerrero’s corner to send the ball past the outstretched arms of Bailey.

Spain’s second of the evening came fifteen minutes later, as la Reina found the back of the net with an audacious chipped effort over the Panama ‘keeper. Putellas had played a one-two with Guerrero, allowing space to open up in defence for the Barça star to break through.

Esther González could have quite easily had her second goal before the match had even reached the thirty-minute mark, as she looked destined to poke home a cross from the left flank. Espinosa’s attempted clearance was miscued though, with the defender poking home into her own net to extend la Roja’s advantage to three goals.

And with little under ten minutes until the break, Irene Guerrero was involved once more – this time, the midfielder calmly slotted home from the penalty spot. Her low effort into the bottom-left corner snuck past Bailey, who had dived correctly but was unable to deny Spain’s seemingly relentless attacking force.

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Spain added their fifth in the 43rd minute, with Eva Navarro slotting home at the far post. Cardona’s cross from the left flank looked destined to present González with an opportunity to add to her tally, but the forward was held off by Pinzón – allowing the ball to skip past Bailey, and Navarro simply had to find the back of an open goal.

Esther González was able to add her second of the evening just a minute later though, as Cardona provided a classy assist once again. The winger drove to the byline, pausing just long enough to allow space to open up for la Roja’s striker – who slotted home with a remarkable calmness and composure to ensure Jorge Vilda’s side held a six-goal lead at the break.

And while the second half saw just one goal, Athenea del Castillo ensured it was far from mundane. Having replaced Cardona just four minutes prior, del Castillo was involved in much of the buildup play for Spain’s seventh goal, opting to lay the ball off to Fiamma, who in turn crossed towards Maite Oroz. Her strike was blocked well by the visiting defence, with the ball rebounding to del Castillo’s feet – and she made no mistake, rifling a half-volleyed effort into the roof of the net.

Jorge Vilda’s team will travel to Copenhagen to continue their World Cup preparations, as they look to face Denmark on Wednesday 5th July. As for Panama, they’re out of action until 14th July – when they’ll face Japan in Sendai.

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FromTheSpot will be bringing you coverage of every game throughout the FIFA Women’s World Cup, including previews and detailed reports. We’ll cover games in the buildup to the tournament too, so you can get a feel for the potential favourites ahead of action getting underway in Australia and New Zealand.