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Putellas returns but key names missing in Spain World Cup squad

Spain coach Jorge Vilda named a fit again Alexia Putellas in his final 23-player list for the women’s World Cup, along with three players who had been protesting, but La Roja are missing several key figures.

Some of the 15 players who asked not to be selected for the national team in a protest against the Spanish football federation changed their stance, with Barcelona trio Aitana Bonmati, Mariona Caldentey and Ona Batlle selected.

Their club team-mates Patri Guijarro, Mapi Leon and Sandra Panos, three experienced, world-class players, are among the former regulars who will not participate.

Vilda cut six players from the long-list he named earlier in June, along with the injured Atletico defender Sheila Garcia, including her team-mate Marta Cardona.

“It was the most difficult list to make because of how hard the players made it,” Vilda told a news conference.

“The competition was maximum, the decisions were made on small details.

“All the recognition to those who were left out, because they are great players, if any of those six had to come back I’m convinced they’d be at the right level to play.”

Spain thumped Panama 7-0 in a warm-up friendly on Thursday with Putellas starting a match for the first time since her injury in July 2022 and scoring with a neat chip.

“Yesterday the sensations were very good not just for the goal that she scored but for her assists, for how she helped the team,” added Vilda.

“That’s what we expect from Alexia, but it’s clear the best of Alexia is still to come, and we’ll do everything on our side to make that happen.”

Spain squad:

Goalkeepers: Misa Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Cata Coll (Barcelona), Enith Salon (Valencia).

Defenders: Oihane Hernandez (Athletic Bilbao), Rocio Galvez (Real Madrid), Irene Paredes (Barcelona), Laia Codina (Barcelona) Ivana Andres (Real Madrid), Ona Batlle (Barcelona), Olga Carmona (Real Madrid).

Midfielders: Maria Perez (Barcelona) Teresa Avilleira (Real Madrid), Claudia Zornoza (Real Madrid), Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona) Jenni Hermoso (Pachuca, MEX), Irene Guerrero (Atletico Madrid) Alexia Putellas (Barcelona).

Forwards: Mariona Caldentey (Barcelona), Eva Navarro (Atletico Madrid) Athenea Del Castillo (Real Madrid), Esther Gonzalez (Real Madrid), Salma Paralluelo (Barcelona), Alba Redondo (Levante).

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