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Spain’s Putellas to miss Women’s Euro because of knee injury

July 5, 2022 GMT
FILE - Barcelona's Alexia Putellas celebrates after scoring against Real Madrid during the Women's Champions League quarter final, second leg soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Putellas will lead Spain's squad at the women's European Championship in England next month. Putellas is the highlight of the 23-player list announced by coach Jorge Vilda on Monday, June 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort, File)
FILE - Barcelona's Alexia Putellas celebrates after scoring against Real Madrid during the Women's Champions League quarter final, second leg soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Putellas will lead Spain's squad at the women's European Championship in England next month. Putellas is the highlight of the 23-player list announced by coach Jorge Vilda on Monday, June 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort, File)
FILE - Barcelona's Alexia Putellas celebrates after scoring against Real Madrid during the Women's Champions League quarter final, second leg soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Putellas will lead Spain's squad at the women's European Championship in England next month. Putellas is the highlight of the 23-player list announced by coach Jorge Vilda on Monday, June 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort, File)
FILE - Barcelona's Alexia Putellas celebrates after scoring against Real Madrid during the Women's Champions League quarter final, second leg soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Putellas will lead Spain's squad at the women's European Championship in England next month. Putellas is the highlight of the 23-player list announced by coach Jorge Vilda on Monday, June 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort, File)
FILE - Barcelona's Alexia Putellas celebrates after scoring against Real Madrid during the Women's Champions League quarter final, second leg soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Putellas will lead Spain's squad at the women's European Championship in England next month. Putellas is the highlight of the 23-player list announced by coach Jorge Vilda on Monday, June 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort, File)

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s chances of finally breaking through at a major women’s tournament took a hit Tuesday when Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas injured her knee in training and was ruled out of the European Championship.

The Spanish soccer federation said medical exams showed Putellas tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. The injury came three days before Spain’s opening game at the Euros in England.

Putellas was on crutches as she left the team’s training center to undergo the medical tests. Spain coach Jorge Vilda did not immediately announce Putellas’ replacement.

Spain was already without veteran Jennifer Hermoso because of a knee injury.

Putellas was set to lead a Spain side that enters a major women’s tournament as a title favorite for the first time. The team has been boosted by a significant growth in women’s soccer in recent years, highlighted by Barcelona winning its first Champions League title and Real Madrid creating its own women’s team — all since the last Women’s World Cup in 2019.

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Spain is enjoying an unbeaten streak that started in March 2020, and is ranked at an all-time high No. 7 in the world.

It will open the Euros on Friday in Group B against Finland. Denmark and eight-time European champion Germany are also in the group.

Spain’s best performance at the Women’s Euros was reaching the semifinals in 1997. It reached the quarterfinals in 2013 and 2017.

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