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2023 Women's World Cup

Spain looks to move beyond conflict in 2023 World Cup

Photo Copyright Jerome Miron for USA TODAY Sports

Through a centuries-long process, Spanish has grown into a vast, rich and intricate language. One full of synonyms, idioms and double meanings, where virtually anything can be expressed, be accurately described. A cultural treasure by itself and hardwired into the speakers mind, Spaniards could well communicate and make themselves understood by the use of the so-called refranes [proverbs].  

These are phrases, sometimes built in a catchy, poetic-ish way, that read literally and tend to mean nothing in 2023. And yet still, the ideas behind the words tend to resonate in a bigger, undisputed way, containing snippets of a reality long gone, but useful to explain everyday life.

The public conflict in which the Spanish National Team and 15 of its senior women’s players have been immersed for the past nine months has seen thousands of words written and spoken, but it is striking how the main protagonists in the story opted for silence instead of providing explanations. And in the end, when the final World Cup roster was announced, what transpired and stuck to the broader audience in Spain can be best summarized with one of the most popular refranes in the country: quien se fue a Sevilla, perdió su silla. The one who left to Seville, lost its place. The city of Seville here simply means leaving for the wrong place, at the wrong time, and therefore losing what you had.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) had the upper hand, played the media battle better equipped than the 15 rebels and, in hindsight, was always destined to prevail. By the time coach Jorge Vilda announced his 30 names three weeks ago, the war was already over. 

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