The Spain women’s national team played in its first Women’s World Cup in 2015. Eight years later, La Roja have won their first title.
Olga Carmona provided the lone goal of the game for either team in the 29th minute. The Real Madrid defender sent a low strike across the goalmouth and into the far corner past England goalkeeper Mary Earps. While Earps made several spectacular saves from that point to keep the Lionesses within striking distance, they never found the equalizer.
Spain played the entire tournament under the shadow of a dispute between players and the national federation. In September 2022, 15 players sent a letter to the Spanish federation calling out issues within the program, including with the coaching staff; just three of those players were selected to coach Jorge Vilda’s World Cup roster.
La Roja win their first World Cup title and their first major international trophy, avenging their loss to England in the quarterfinal round of the 2022 Euros.
The two-time reigning Ballon d’Or winner comes in from the bench for extra time, replacing Mariona Caldentey.
Spain goalkeeper Cata Coll leapt to get a hand on James’ shot from the left side, tipping the ball up and over the crossbar.
Lauren James has been a difference maker for England in the second half 🦁 pic.twitter.com/c2CIeszWY6— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) August 20, 2023
Lauren James has been a difference maker for England in the second half 🦁 pic.twitter.com/c2CIeszWY6
Spain received a penalty kick courtesy of a handball by England midfielder Keira Walsh, but Earps wrapped up Jenni Hermoso’s shot.
“I do my own research and I’m not going to reveal it here,” Earps told The Athletic earlier in the tournament. “It is a free shot from 12 yards so the striker should score every single time. My job is to make it as difficult as possible and give myself the best chance to save it. We definitely prepared for penalties.”
SHE'S BEEN DENIED ❌Jenni Hermoso's effort has been saved by Earps 🧤 pic.twitter.com/gNwN1RezFH— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) August 20, 2023
SHE'S BEEN DENIED ❌Jenni Hermoso's effort has been saved by Earps 🧤 pic.twitter.com/gNwN1RezFH
After a VAR check, a handball is called against England and a penalty is awarded to Spain 🇪🇸Do you agree with the call? pic.twitter.com/8RbAc9iW5z— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) August 20, 2023
After a VAR check, a handball is called against England and a penalty is awarded to Spain 🇪🇸Do you agree with the call? pic.twitter.com/8RbAc9iW5z
England manager Sarina Wiegman brings on fresh legs, sending in James and Chloe Kelly in place of Alessia Russo and Rachel Daly. Spain sticks with its first-half lineup.
Spain dominated the first 45 minutes, controlling possession for 64% of the first half. While Hemp managed several chances for the Lionesses, La Roja used their speed and pinpoint passing to get behind the defense.
England’s come-from-behind win against Colombia in the quarterfinal round stands as the only come-from-behind win of the knockout stage. Can the Lionesses repeat that performance in the championship match?
Carmona scored the game-winner against Sweden in the semifinal, and she struck first in the World Cup final, giving her team a first-half lead over England.
The 23-year-old forward lifted her jersey in celebration to show a message penned in marker on her Adidas undershirt: “MERCHI,” a tribute to a good friend’s mother who recently passed away.
A goal that Olga Carmona will never forget 👏👏Spain takes the lead in the first half of the Final 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/NiMRCF0qX4— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) August 20, 2023
A goal that Olga Carmona will never forget 👏👏Spain takes the lead in the first half of the Final 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/NiMRCF0qX4
A breakout start for La Roja at the 2023 World Cup, Salma Paralluelo had a look at the goal, but her shot missed wide right. Alba Redondo followed with a shot of her own, but England goalkeeper Mary Earps made the stop.
The 23-year-old forward created another chance for the Lionesses, but the ball bounced off the crossbar.
Lauren Hemp, who has three goals in the tournament, sent the first shot of the match toward Spain goalkeeper Cata Coll, but Coll handled it easily.
Each team faced one big question heading into the World Cup final. For Spain: Should two-time reigning Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who is still working her way back to full fitness from an ACL tear, get the nod? For England: Should Lauren James, who is returning from a two-game red card suspension, move back into the starting lineup?
Each team ended up with the same answer: No. Both Putellas and James are starting the match on the bench in favor of Spain’s Salma Paralluelo and England’s Ella Toone.
The 2023 World Cup final is available to watch on Fox, Telemundo and Universo. It also can be streamed on the Fox Sports app and on Peacock.