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PETE JENSON: Real who? Spain go crazy for the women’s team, with the World Cup finalists knocking Real Madrid and Barcelona off the front pages of the sports papers

Spain’s women’s team knocked Real Madrid and Barcelona off the front pages of all major sports papers after they reached their first World Cup final and Sunday will be no different as Jorge Vilda’s side prepare to face England.

Diario AS called them ‘Eternal’, Diario Sport ‘Greats’ and Marca ‘World Beaters’. 

Marca were still giving them front-page prominence on Friday with Jenni Hermoso, the team’s record goalscorer and ‘ballet dancer with studs’ dominating the cover and the inside pages with an extensive interview.

Over 30 venues with giant screens have been erected throughout the country and there is a belief they can win the tournament, with a bit of help from Australia.

Spain believe traditional sporting rivalry will mean home spectators will back them and not England. For ‘traditional rivalry’ it’s lost on no one that England are very much Spain’s ‘old enemy’ now.

Jenni Hermoso, Spain's top scorer, featured on Marca's front page instead of the men's clubs Jenni Hermoso, Spain's top scorer, featured on Marca's front page instead of the men's clubs

Jenni Hermoso, Spain’s top scorer, featured on Marca’s front page instead of the men’s clubs

Over 30 public screenings have been set up, with expectation that Spain can beat England Over 30 public screenings have been set up, with expectation that Spain can beat England

Over 30 public screenings have been set up, with expectation that Spain can beat England

They have played England more than any other side, losing seven of the 16 meetings and winning only three times.

There is a belief that the pattern will change and home support has been on the rise with just over 2.8million viewers watching the climax of the semi-final win over Sweden.

Of the fan sites set up for Sunday, one inside venue in Madrid – the WiZink Center – offering refuge from midday temperatures expected to be in the low thirties, ran out of the 6,000 tickets available after just 55 minutes on Friday.

Spain went out of the last Euros by losing to England in the quarter-finals and they want revenge.

They led until the 84th minute and it still riles them that they felt Irene Paredes had been fouled in the build-up to England’s winner.

There is an acceptance that reaching the final off the back of a squad mutiny against coach Jorge Vilda a year ago is little short of miraculous.

After the images of Vilda being ignored by his players in the quarter-final celebrations went viral there has been a concerted effort to give him credit for a final appearance they know the rest of the world sees as having been achieved in spite of him, not because of him.

It is a miracle they reached the final despite a squad mutiny against Jorge Vilda a year ago It is a miracle they reached the final despite a squad mutiny against Jorge Vilda a year ago

It is a miracle they reached the final despite a squad mutiny against Jorge Vilda a year ago 

Vilda was bold in replacing Alexia Putellas with 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo in the knockouts Vilda was bold in replacing Alexia Putellas with 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo in the knockouts

Vilda was bold in replacing Alexia Putellas with 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo in the knockouts

The sports media have credited him with replacing goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez with Cata Coll and playing Barca defender Laia Codina alongside Paredes.

He was also bold in taking off Alexia Putellas and putting on Salma Paralluelo against the Netherlands in the last eight.

The 19-year-old former sprinter is on the brink of an incredible treble having already won the World Cup at Under 17 and Under 20 level.

Television viewing figures in Spain for their semi-final have only been topped by last year’s defeat by England, watched by just over three million. They expect to beat that on Sunday – and to vanquish England in the process.

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