the invisible champions

the invisible champions

Irene and Laura Córdoba arrive at the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences with an embarrassed face. The parking lot has delayed them for a few minutes and the first thing they do is apologize. Her manner and shyness match her age, 19, but not her belonging to the team that dominates Europe with an iron fist. Both are present and future of the Spanish futsal team that only a few days before won its third European Championship in a row, adding three titles in the three editions of the inexperienced tournament. After giving their all in the celebrations and receiving tributes from the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and the Higher Sports Council (CSD), these twins from Entrevías have rejoined civilian life, which now takes them from one side to the other. another and will draw the curtain on the day with almost nocturnal training in Navalcarnero, home of Futsi, his club. “Successes like that fill you with confidence, but they don’t change your life much. You are still the same, going to train every day, studying and doing your things and socializing with your usual friends”, explains Laura, who plays in the closing position, where the game of the national team begins. Irene’s presence on the INEF slopes with her sister, a journalist and a photographer, who makes them pose again and again under a blazing sun, arouses the curiosity of her classmates, who hallucinate seeing the medal up close of gold that have been brought from Hungary. «We know that we are not going to be very famous, but at least in your world of futsal or sports, you do like to be recognized. Not being stopped on the street every day, but that they know how to appreciate that you are a European champion and that they recognize your work if they like it, “acknowledges the center, who curiously plays in the antagonistic position of her twin. Between complicit laughs they explain that, although they have improved, in dealing with the media they still do not feel completely loose. «The truth is that we never thought of getting here. We got into futsal a bit by chance and to enjoy ourselves with our teammates and see what happened, at no time did we set ourselves the goal of winning a European Championship or a World Cup. But now that we’ve arrived here, obviously we’re still dreaming.” Despite their youth, both have reached the national team with a strong footing and have participated in the last two continental victories for Spain, which sets the pace ahead of Portugal, the other great European power. «It may seem easy but there is a lot of work and sacrifice behind it. And a necessary record to get three Europeans in the three editions that have been played. One could be lucky, but not three in a row, “says Irene. Laura, for her part, acknowledges that they are still assimilating it. “Yes, you are aware, but in the long run I think we are going to be even more so.” The final, against Ukraine Squad of the Spanish team | Laura Cordoba | Irene Córdoba RFEF The two agree on Spain’s secret to be the rival to beat in Europe: «We always say it, it is the trust we have in each other and the union. We are friends, off the track we have a great time and we are united, and on the court it shows. There are no bad faces, we push ourselves to the maximum, when one is down the other helps them… and that is essential. Then also on the floor there is a mix of young people, like us, and people with a lot of experience like Anita Luján, Peque or Dani, which gives us a plus that other teams do not have. A league without television The tribute they received from the RFEF and the CSD makes them smile with pride: “You see that your work is recognized.” However, it remains to win the recognition of the general public. “In the end, the people around us congratulate us, close people that you didn’t know very well either, but that you see are happy with the achievement and people with whom we have met on occasion.” A situation that contrasts with the good audience figures for this championship, whose final exceeded an average of 122,000 spectators. “We know that what we do will be seen by many people and that we are an influence for many boys and girls, who can dream of one day reaching the place we occupy and that also motivates us,” Irene acknowledges. But, as Laura explains, the day-to-day reality in her clubs is very different. «The selection is a very important showcase. The league can be seen through ‘streaming’ because the RFEF has opted for that, but it has less impact. When you play a Super Cup, a Cup or the ‘Playoffs’ final, you can have more audience, but much less than with the national team. Related News standard Si Futsal «For years I have been preparing the after, because we leave here with a labor market that is zero» Miguel Zarza standard Si Futsal The crossroads of futsal: when tactics drown out the spectacle Miguel Zarza It is the reality of soccer women’s room, where the option of professionalization is not even debated as it happens in the men’s room, since the conditions are very different. «There is a problem that is like a fish that bites its tail: there is a lack of visibility and sponsors. If there is no visibility, sponsors do not bet on you and vice versa. Asked if they envy the situation of women’s football, Irene answers optimistically: «We know that since our football colleagues have achieved it, we are not that far from achieving it either. Of course, she looks at herself with some envy, but at the same time with the illusion that maybe one day we can be in that same place. They have grown very quickly, but so have we little by little, and in the end, even if it is many years from now, the result will be seen». Meanwhile, like most teammates and rivals, the two prepare the future beyond the slopes. “We are clear that this can be a springboard for later, in my case as a physiotherapist and in Irene’s as a physical trainer”. But since futsal alone is not enough at the moment, Irene stays on the field to start a class and Laura, free until night training, does not forget her studies in Alcalá: «Sometimes it is difficult to get to everything, but it is What there is”.


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