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Former USWNT coach Jill Ellis hands off World Cup trophy to Spain

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(Elsa/FIFA via Getty Images)

Jill Ellis, who coached the U.S. women’s national to the 2015 and 2019 World Cup titles, delivered the championship trophy to 2023 winner Spain after Sunday’s final.

The USWNT fell well short in its quest for a three-peat, suffering its earliest-ever World Cup exit with a shootout loss to Sweden in the Round of 16. Japan’s elimination in the following round ensured that a first-time champion would be crowned at the 2023 tournament.

Before 2023, the USWNT had won four titles, Germany had won two, and Japan and Norway had won one each. Either the USWNT or Germany had appeared in all eight of the previous championship matches.

“You’re getting two teams that have never been in this moment before. It’s going to be an extraordinary evening,” Ellis said ahead of the final. “I just can’t wait to watch the images back in Spain and in England, of what their home countries are doing and how they’re celebrating and how they’re watching – I always find that so inspiring.”

In the aftermath of the USWNT’s exit from the World Cup, Ellis’ successor Vlatko Andonovski stepped down as head coach, kicking off a search for the next leader of what has been the premier senior women’s national program. The turnover at the top of the USWNT comes as Spain and England underlined the new reality of the women’s game: The world has caught up with the U.S.