Spain clinched its maiden Women’s World Cup title, overcoming England with a 1-0 victory, thanks to Olga Carmona’s goal in the first half. This triumph marked Spain as the inaugural team to simultaneously hold the under-17, under-20, and senior world championships. They now join the ranks of Germany as the only country to have won both the men’s and women’s World Cup tournaments.
As the final whistle blew, jubilation erupted among the Spanish players, culminating in a celebratory dance on the pitch. The trophy presentation was a spectacle, with the players embracing the trophy amidst a shower of golden confetti.
England’s Lionesses, on the other hand, were left yearning for a World Cup win, a feat last achieved by their male counterparts in 1966. Reflecting on the match, England’s captain, Millie Bright, expressed her disappointment but also acknowledged Spain’s prowess. She emphasized the team’s determination, especially in the second half, but lamented their inability to seal the deal.
The sole goal of the match came from Carmona’s left-footed strike in the 29th minute. Notably, Carmona had also netted the decisive goal in Spain’s 2-1 semifinal win over Sweden, echoing Carli Lloyd’s 2015 achievement of scoring in both the World Cup semifinal and final.
Spain’s journey to this victory wasn’t without its challenges. A year prior, fifteen players had contemplated stepping away from the national team, citing mental health concerns and advocating for a more professional setting. However, three of these players reconciled with the federation and participated in the World Cup.
England entered the tournament on a high, having won the European Championship on their home turf. However, injuries sidelined some of their key players, including captain Leah Williamson. Despite these setbacks, England’s coach, Sarina Wiegman, achieved the distinction of leading teams to consecutive World Cup finals, although she has yet to clinch a title.
The final saw numerous close calls and missed opportunities for both teams. Spain’s young sensation, 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo, who had been instrumental in their journey to the final, narrowly missed adding to her tally. On the other hand, England’s Lauren Hemp had a couple of near misses, with one of her shots ricocheting off the crossbar.
The match also witnessed stellar goalkeeping, especially from England’s Mary Earps, who made a series of crucial saves, including stopping a penalty from Spain’s Jenni Hermoso.
Spain’s coach, Jorge Vilda, had to strategize without the full services of two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who was recovering from an injury. However, Putellas made a brief appearance in the final moments of the match, and the emotion was palpable as she shed tears of joy while her teammates celebrated.
The final, held at Stadium Australia, attracted a massive crowd of 75,784 spectators, including tennis legend Billie Jean King. This showdown was a rematch of sorts, as the two teams had faced off in the Euros quarterfinals the previous year, where England had emerged victorious.
In the end, Spain’s historic win in the Women’s World Cup is a testament to their talent, determination, and the growth of women’s football on the global stage.