The image that existed of Montse Tomé has been transformed since September 5. Until that moment, she was the assistant who suffered and celebrated with Jorge Vilda on the bench of the Spanish National Team since 2018, the one to whom Luis Rubiales made the mistake of naming her with a loud voice as sports director in a shameful assembly that ended up setting Spanish football on fire. When he landed on the national bench, he was living in a storm about to erupt. And it has been in that dense environment where a metamorphosis has taken place that leads Spain to be one point away from qualifying for the final four of the Nations League, which can open the door to the Paris Games and give a second international title to the senior team. If for De la Fuente the Nations League was a shot of confidence, for Tomé it is the same path.
Spain has two chances to close out a brilliant qualifier. They should do it tonight in Pontevedra against Italy, an opponent who demanded them in the first match and forced the shortest score, which only Jenni Hermoso could open in the 89th minute. If they stumble, they have the option of Sweden on Tuesday at La Rosaleda, but with no defeats and with only three goals conceded to 13 scored, there is little doubt that they will succeed.
Tomé has had to abandon his low profile off the pitch in order to earn respect in the dressing room and, above all, off it. She was not taken into account the letter of resignation that, along with a good part of those who now make up her technical staff, she signed hours after the Assembly which, she has now acknowledged, forced her to attend and sit next to Vilda, with whom she broke off communication.
He has learned from the mistakes he saw. He has strengthened his coaching staff, which acts as a praetorian guard, with auxiliary technicians such as Irene del Río or analysts such as Kiko Meléndez and psychologist Emi González. There are those who remember that part of the technical decisions that were made in the World Cup came from the proposals of Tomé and Javier Lerga, his deputy.
"I am not Jorge Vilda," he has repeated at many points in these four months. Her style of play has been adapted to the potential of the World Champion players and she has been able to recover those who were damaged from a long process of a year and a half with the Federation. His entourage is aware that in the first call-up he lacked the ability to communicate with the media and also a firm hand to stop some situations before that concentration in Oliva. She had to be a spokesperson and she wasn't ready yet. Today, he continues to run away from everything that is not a party.
The arrival of Markel Zubizarreta will strip her of that thankless role. "He's a person who has a lot of experience and he's going to help us in many ways," said the coach. One of his tasks will be to grease relations with those like Mapi León or Patri Guijarro who have not yet returned to Spain.
Ambition to improve
On the pitch, the national team has recovered from all the torments with key results such as the victory against Sweden or the thrashing of Switzerland. Merit to the champions, including two Ballon d'Ors, but far from the self-management they had to exercise at some points in the World Cup. "We start from a great base. These players are World Champions, but we have to improve. They have ambition and also a desire to learn from what we can take away from them from the coaching staff," he says.
Only Italy put them in trouble. "They are a strong team that closed in, but we don't know if they will repeat it, because they have played more open in other games," warned Tomé, who still has the doubt of Irene Paredes but will have Mariona. Also with Laia Codina, who in the morning will go to court to testify in the case of Jenni's abuse. "It's not the ideal scenario, but she's calm and from the Federation we're going to help her," he told the coach. And that's already a mutation.
- Spain Women's National Football Team