Spain wins 2023 Women's World Cup final 1-0, England lament
Posted : 20 August 2023
In a tense and fiercely contested showdown, Spain emerged victorious in the 2023 Women's World Cup final, securing a hard-fought 1-0 win against England at Stadium Australia in Sydney. The decisive goal arrived courtesy of Olga Carmona, who exhibited clinical precision with a driven finish from the left. Despite England's goalkeeper Mary Earps saving a penalty, Spain managed to maintain their lead and clinch the victory.
Olga Carmona's moment arrived with a low and powerful strike, propelling Spain to their inaugural Women's World Cup triumph by defeating England 1-0 in the final at Stadium Australia. This victory marked Spain's first breakthrough in a knockout round of a major tournament. On the other hand, it was only the second loss for England under the management of Sarina Wiegman since her appointment in 2021.
The opening stages of the first half saw opportunities for both sides. England came close to scoring as Rachel Daly's pass set up Lauren Hemp for a curling left-footed shot that struck the crossbar. Spain responded swiftly, with Mariona Caldentey delivering a cross for Salma Paralluelo, whose chance was deflected to Alba Redondo. However, Redondo's effort was parried away by Mary Earps.
Spain secured the breakthrough in the 29th minute, with Olga Carmona surging down the left flank after an overlap with Caldentey. Carmona's forceful low shot found the far-right corner of the net. The positioning of Lucy Bronze, who initially lost possession, allowed Carmona space to receive the ball and convert the opportunity.
Wiegman made halftime adjustments, introducing Lauren James and Chloe Kelly, which led to a formation shift from a back-three to a back four. Despite these changes providing more chances for England, they were unable to breach Spain's defense. In the 66th minute, Spain was awarded a penalty following a VAR review for a handball by Keira Walsh. Jennifer Hermoso's spot-kick was saved by Earps.
England's attempts to regain momentum through Lauren James were met with resilience from the Spanish defense. Millie Bright's advanced positioning aimed to contribute to an equalizer, but England struggled to create enough threatening crosses, leaving them vulnerable to counterattacks.
Wiegman introduced Beth England in a last-ditch effort, but Spain held firm during the extra time period. Their solid defense thwarted European champions England's attempts to test Catalina Coll, allowing Spain to secure the victory and claim the title.
Spain's supremacy on the day was evident, underscoring the disappointment for England. Spain dominated the midfield battles and exploited vulnerabilities on the flanks. Jorge Vilda's decision to omit Alexia Putellas, the two-time Ballon d'Or winner, in favor of Aitana Bonmati, Teresa Abelleira, and Jennifer Hermoso in midfield proved effective in nullifying England's playmakers.
England's defensive gaps and vulnerability on the flanks played into Spain's hands, and their press was easily bypassed. Despite positive changes made by Wiegman in the second half, England struggled to exploit Spain's weaknesses, which other teams had managed successfully earlier in the tournament. This inability to capitalize ultimately led to England's defeat.