In the hype around a big tournament, it’s easy to build a narrative that begins and ends with a team’s biggest star. But the players who make or break a squad are often further down the depth chart. Their success or failure will dictate a team’s tournament. These are The Influencers.
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María Pilar “Mapi” León
Date of birth: 13 June 1995
Place of birth: Zaragoza, Spain
Superpower: Endless energy
Maybe center backs get a bad rap, but often enough we think of them as the least mobile of all the outfield players. The tall women who amble their way from one box to the other at set pieces and try to get back as fast as their legs will carry them to prevent a counterattack. If the slow, almost lethargic center back is the archetype, Mapi León is reinventing the role.
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If you think the narratives are simple, think again