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Soccer-Vilda calls up Caldentey, Bonmati and Batlle to Spain’s World Cup squad

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(Reuters) – A feud between Spanish players and Spain women’s coach Jorge Vilda appears to have come to an end after three of the 15 players who were previously frozen out of the national setup were called up for this year’s Women’s World Cup on Monday.

Barcelona’s Mariona Caldentey, Aitana Bonmati and Manchester United’s Ona Batlle were recalled to the national team.

The Spanish FA said in September last year that 15 players had threatened to quit the team if Vilda was not fired and they would not be welcomed back until they recognised their mistake and asked for forgiveness.

Vilda left the group out of his squad for a pair of friendlies against Sweden and the United States, with Spain earning a 1-1 draw against the third-ranked Swedes and claiming a 2-0 upset of the four-time World Cup winning Americans.

The exiled players complained to the Spanish FA that they were unhappy with the management of injuries, the atmosphere in the locker room, and Vilda’s handling of team selection and training, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

The group said on social media in September that they had not demanded Vilda’s dismissal but expressed what they believed could help improve performance.

Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas was also included in the squad after recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament that forced her withdrawal from last year’s European Championship.

“I’m going to talk about the players who are here and not about those who are not here or don’t want to be here,” Vilda told reporters.

“It is very important that Alexia has recovered well, that she has played minutes for her club… A lot of things have happened since September, but I think one of the best things is that we have played 11 games and won nine. What we want to do when we come back from the World Cup is to move up in the rankings a lot more.

“If these three players are here it is because they are committed to the national team and by extension they can play in the World Cup.”

Spain will be looking to win their maiden World Cup at this year’s showpiece event, which is being co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia from July 20-Aug. 20.

They begin their campaign in Group C against Costa Rica on July 21 before facing Zambia and Japan.

SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Cata Coll, Elene Lete, Misa Rodriguez, Enith Salon

Defenders: Ivana Andres, Ona Batlle, Olga Carmona, Laia Codina, Jana Fernandez, Rocio Galvez, Sheila Garcia, Oihane Hernandez, Irene Paredes.

Midfielders: Tere Abelleira, Fiamma Benitez, Aitana Bonmati, Irene Guerrero, Jenni Hermoso, Maite Oroz, Maria Perez, Alexia Putellas, Claudia Zornoza.

Forwards: Mariona Caldentey, Marta Cardona, Athenea del Castillo, Inma Gabarro, Esther Gonzalez, Eva Navarro, Salma Paralluelo, Alba Redondo

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Nashik, India; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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