It was tense and incredibly competitive, but Spain ended up coming out on top in the 2023 Women World Cup final with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over England at Stadium Australia in Sydney.
Olga Carmona scored the only goal of the game with a clinical-driven finish from out on the left. Despite England goalkeeper Mary Earps saving a penalty, Spain preserved their advantage to triumph.
Prior to this tournament, Spain had never won a knockout round in a major tournament. The loss is only England’s second under Sarina Wiegman since her appointment in 2021.
Early in the first-half, both sides had chances. England almost scored after Rachel Daly cut a pass back towards the edge of the area for Lauren Hemp, whose left-footed curled shot smashed off the crossbar.
Spain reacted almost instantly, when moments later Mariona Caldentey powered down the left flank and whipped a cross in for Salma Paralluelo, who scuffed a chance from close range. Her effort deflected into the path of Alba Redondo, but her right-footed strike was poorly taken and parried away by Mary Earps.
La Roja got their opener in the 29th minute, when Carmona overlapped Caldentey and sped down the left-flank before drilling a low, powerful shot into the far-right corner. Lucy Bronze, who initially gave away possession, was out of position, allowing the Spain captain space to receive the ball and score.
Wiegman opted to make changes at half-time with Lauren James, who served her two-match ban in the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, and Chloe Kelly. The changes made meant a formation switch, changing from a back-three to a back four. It led to more England chances, but nothing Spain weren’t able to deal with.
In the 66th minute, Spain were awarded a penalty after a lengthy VAR check deemed that Keira Walsh handled the ball in the box. Jennifer Hermoso failed to double her side’s lead after Earps saved her spot-kick.
England tried to gain momentum after the penalty save through James, but the Chelsea youngster often found herself crowded out by the Spanish defence. Her best chance floated right above the bar.
In the latter stages of the match, Millie Bright stayed forward in hopes that her aerial prowess could help with an equaliser, but not enough crosses came her way, and it led to England being susceptible to the counter.
Wiegman made a final change, bringing on Beth England, but during the 13 minutes of extra time, the European champions failed to truly test Catalina Coll as Spain held on to claim the victory and the title