Here’s Why The Crowd Booed Spain’s Coach, Jorge Vilda, At The Women’s World Cup Final

Look, I know it was disappointing that our girls the Matildas didn’t make it through to the grand final match of the Women’s World Cup, but there’s no denying last night’s game was an absolute doozy. If you’re petty like I am and decided to support Spain by drinking one too many glasses of sangria, I hope you’ve popped a Panadol to take on the workday.

As you’d expect of a World Cup final, the game was a display of incredible football, but there was one little detail before the first whistle sounded that made my drama-loving alarms ring: the crowd booing the fuck out of Spain’s coach, Jorge Vilda.

Even after Spain beat England 0-1, it seemed like the players celebrated on one end of the field, with the coaching staff on the other. And then, as they all cheered together, the players were seen embracing one another with Vilda just kinda jumping by himself in the middle of the pack.

And, you can see this kind of behaviour happening in other games too. Look how they brushed him off after their win over the Netherlands.

For outsiders or bandwagon girlies like me, it was pretty puzzling. After all, Vilda has led the team to the final of the World Cup. Isn’t that something worth celebrating?

But apparently, many Spanish players have had longstanding issues with Vilda and the allegedly unprofessional way he runs the team. In fact, in September 2022, 15 players on the team sent identical letters to the Royal Spanish Football Federation asking not to be summoned for friendly matches until changes were made in the organisation – most notably, Vilda as coach.

They claimed that Vilda’s coaching style did not look after their mental health and well-being and that he often exhibited controlling behaviour. The players alleged that Vildas and his coaching staff searched their bags and claimed they told them to keep their hotel rooms unlocked for inspections.

“We regret that in the context of women’s sport we have to go to the extreme, as unfortunately has happened in other national teams and other sports historically worldwide, in order to advance in a powerful and ambitious professional project for the present and for future generations,” the players said in a statement, per Just Women’s Sports.

The federation looked into these claims but ultimately sided with Vilda. Subsequently, eight of 15 players made themselves available to be included in the world cup squad. However, Vilda only included three for the finals: Aitana Bonmati, Mariona Caldentey, and Ona Batlle. This decision left some of the world’s best players off the roster.

And despite some potential changes behind the scenes, three of the players in the original 15 are continuing their protest including Spanish defender Mapi Leon.

“Mapi Leon has a way of life and values,” Leon said, per CBS Sports.

“I can’t go back if the situation doesn’t change … There has to be changes. I’m not saying that they’re not doing it, but I don’t see them. What saddens me the most is that I really have to miss out on something when I could have earned it and contributed. It’s a shame.”

During the Women’s World cup, Vilda and the Spanish team were often asked questions about this rift during press conferences, and they weren’t too happy about it.

When asked about his relationships with some of the members of the team Vilda replied: “Next question please.”

Despite the obvious tension between the coach and the players, the Spanish Football Federation has publically backed Vilda now more than ever by sharing a Tweet which read, “Vilda In.”

Meanwhile, star goal scorer, Olga Carmona, has backed the federation and steered clear of the protest publicly.

“The Spanish Football Federation has been wonderful. They have given us all the conditions to make winning possible,” she said, per Forbes.

Now, Vilda has said that the team has plans to “celebrate the World Cup and go back to Spain. Then we’ll see.”

Well, that’s the tea.

I can only imagine how strange it must have been for Vilda to experience being booed by 75,000 people and then go on to achieve one of the highest points of his career. Talk about swings and roundabouts.