Semi stand-out Lopez dreaming of final glory

Lopez and her team-mates certainly have the skills to go all the way against Mexico in Saturday’s final, if Spain’s previous five matches at the tournament are anything to go by. “I think that’s something that defines our game,” she said. “Our style is not a secret: it involves lots of touches of the ball until we find the right spaces. And we know how to manage our efforts, of course. When we do that, good things tend to happen.”

Irene Lopez in Uruguay

  • Matches played: 5 (90 minutes 24 seconds per match)
  • Goals: 3 (23 per cent of her team’s total)
  • Assists: 2 (33.33 per cent of her team’s total)

Lopez has certainly been instrumental in those good things, not just because she has played a role in five of Spain’s 13 goals at Uruguay 2018, but because she has also shown that she can dictate the tempo in midfield. This aptitude may stem from the multitude of positions in which she has performed in the past.

“I started at full-back, but moved up to the wing. From there, I went to central midfield, and then I played just behind the strikers for a bit, before returning to the middle of the park. I’m happy no matter where they stick me, to be honest,” she said, smiling.

When it comes to scoring or providing an assist, her reasoning was similar. “Whatever leads to a goal – and gets us a little bit closer to our objective – is fine,” said the dynamic No6, before clarifying what that aim entails. “I envisioned myself becoming a world champion before coming here. I think it’s understandable to imagine yourself lifting the trophy. Everyone who’s taken part in a World Cup tournament has dreamt about it.”