Lindsey Horan is the lone U.S. women’s national team player to receive a nomination for the 2023 Best FIFA Women’s Player award.

The 29-year-old co-captain scored two goals for the USWNT at the 2023 World Cup, tied with the team’s lone Ballon d’Or nominee Sophia Smith. No other U.S. player scored a goal at the tournament in Australia and New Zealand. Horan also starts in midfield for French club Lyon in Division 1 Féminine.

Alexia Putellas, who won the 2021 and 2022 Best Player awards, is notably absent from the 2023 list after spending the last year recovering from an ACL tear. Beth Mead and Alex Morgan, the runners-up for the 2022 award, also failed to make the cut. Mead has been out since December 2022 with an ACL tear.

World Cup champion Spain counted four nominees, including Aitana Bonmati, who won the Golden Ball at the World Cup, as well as Jenni Hermoso, Mapi Leon and Salma Paralluelo.

England tied Spain with four nominees, with Rachel Daly leading the way. Alex Greenwood, Lauren James and Keira Walsh also are nominated.

Australia star Sam Kerr received a nod, and she is joined by two fellow Matildas in Caitlin Foord and Mary Fowler. Colombia’s Linda Caicedo, France’s Kadidiatou Diani, Sweden’s Amanda Illestedt and Japan’s Hinata Miyazawa, the World Cup Golden Boot winner, round out the nominees.

Nominees for the Best Coach award include England’s Sarina Wiegman, who won the award last year, Australia’s Tony Guastavsson and Sweden’s Peter Gerhardsson. Two club coaches also received nominations: Chelsea’s Emma Hayes and FC Barcelona’s Jonatan Giráldez.

England’s Mary Earps is once again nominated for Best Goalkeeper and is looking to win the award in back-to-back years. She’s joined by Mackenzie Arnold (Australia), Ann-Katrin Berger (Germany), Christiane Endler (Chile), Zecira Musovic (Sweden), Catalina Coll (Spain) and Sandra Paños (Spain).

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.

FINAL: Spain 1, England 0

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.

90′: Alexia Putellas enters as substitute for Spain

The two-time reigning Ballon d’Or winner comes in from the bench for extra time, replacing Mariona Caldentey.

76′: England’s Lauren James comes close to equalizer

Spain goalkeeper Cata Coll leapt to get a hand on James’ shot from the left side, tipping the ball up and over the crossbar.

69′: England’s Mary Earps stops penalty kick

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.”

46′: England brings in Lauren James as substitute

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.

HALF: Spain 1, England 0

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?

29′: Spain takes 1-0 lead courtesy of Olga Carmona

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.

17′: Spain nearly scores on counterattack

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.

16′: England’s Lauren Hemp hits crossbar

The 23-year-old forward created another chance for the Lionesses, but the ball bounced off the crossbar.

5′: England’s Lauren Hemp notches first shot

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.

Starting XI: Spain’s Alexia Putellas and England’s Lauren James start on bench

  • Spain
    • Goalkeeper: Cata Coll
    • Defenders: Olga Carmona, Laia Codina, Irene Paredes, Ona Batlle
    • Midfielders: Jenni Hermoso, Teresa Abelleira, Aitana Bonmatí
    • Forwards: Mariona Caldentey, Salma Paralluelo, Alba Redondo
  • England
    • Goalkeeper: Mary Earps
    • Defenders: Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright, Jessica Carter
    • Midfielders: Rachel Daly, Keira Walsh, Ella Toone, Georgia Stanway, Lucy Bronze
    • Forwards: Lauren Hemp, Alessia Russo

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.

What to know about Spain

  • Spain is caught up in World Cup controversy, with players and the national federation at odds. In September, 15 Spanish players declined call-ups until their issues with coach Jorge Vilda and the national team were met. While some players have since returned, others remained off the roster.
  • While the controversy has overshadowed Spain’s World Cup run, USWNT star Christen Press still is finding a way to root for La Roja, saying: “I think that the hope is that the more success the team has, the bigger voice and the more respect that they get from their country.”
  • Salma Paralluelo has had a magical tournament for Spain. The 19-year-old forward has scored off the bench in each of the last two games, and she’ll look to continue her scoring streak in the World Cup final.

What to know about England

  • England head coach Sarina Wiegman is in her second consecutive World Cup final after leading the Netherlands to a runner-up finish in 2019. And she’s planning to stick with the Lionesses, she said Friday, despite her name being connected to the open USWNT head coaching position.
  • Lauren James will return for the Lionesses from the two-game ban she received for her red card against Nigeria, which she earned by stepping on the back of Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie in the Round of 16. Before missing the last two rounds of the World Cup, the 21-year-old forward had been electric for England, leading the team with three goals and assisting on three more.
  • Alessia Russo represents not just England but also a long legacy of North Carolina Tar Heels legends, including USWNT stars Mia Hamm and Crystal Dunn. She shared the No. 19 Tar Heels jersey with both players, and she honored them while playing for UNC with patches on her sleeves.

When and how to watch

  • Sunday, Aug. 20 @ 6 a.m. ET
    • Spain vs. England (Stadium Australia, Sydney)

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.

With England’s win in its World Cup semifinal, the Lionesses assured that one of their star players can make her return.

Lauren James received a two-game ban for her red card against Nigeria, which she earned by stepping on the back of Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie in the Round of 16. A red card comes with an automatic one-game suspension, which FIFA later upgraded to two games.

Before missing the last two rounds of the World Cup, the 21-year-old had been electric for England, leading the team with three goals and assisting on three more – which puts her in line for best player of the tournament. With James eligible to return to the pitch in Sunday’s championship match against Spain, the question becomes: Should she be included in the starting lineup?

“She makes the team better, but it almost feels a little unfair to put her in over some players that have performed,” Fox Sports analyst Jimmy Conrad said after the semifinal. “Like Ella Toone came in for her, and she scored today. Like a banger.”

“Lauren James is so dynamic and she adds something in the attack that nobody else offers,” former USWNT player Leslie Osborne added. “Lauren James is healthy and fit. She’s sitting out for other reasons. For me, I think I might start Lauren James because of the ability she has to change games. And I think England looked different without her in these last few games. And I think they missed how dynamic she is in that attacking third. She’s just such a special player and that X factor.”

Fellow Fox Sports analyst Melissa Ortiz also argued that James has served her time. Plus, while Toone opened the scoring in the semifinal win against Australia, James’ game better suits what Spain offers on defense.

“Ella Toone, credit to her, she did incredible,” Ortiz said. “But Lauren James has so much more versatility to her game. She’s also strong and I think that’s gonna make the difference against Spain.”

England’s Lauren James has received a two-game ban for the red card she earned during the Lionesses’ World Cup game against Nigeria.

The 21-year-old was sent off for stepping on the back of Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie during the final minutes of the Round of 16 match, which England won on penalties. The red card came with an automatic one-game ban – plus the possibility of additional games being added.

On Thursday, FIFA increased the ban to two games, meaning James will miss the World Cup semifinals if England wins its quarterfinal game. The Lionesses are set to face Colombia at 6:30 a.m. ET Saturday.

James has been electric for England, leading the team with three goals and assisting on three more.

Following the incident, James apologized to Alozie on social media. Her teammates and coach also issued their support for the young forward, with England manager Sarina Wiegman chalking the moment up to “inexperience.”

“She is inexperienced on this stage and in a split-second lost her emotions. It isn’t something she did on purpose,” she said. “She apologized and felt really bad. She would never want to hurt someone. She is the sweetest person I know.”

And now the team is focused on moving forward without their star.

“We’re not defined by one player,” forward Beth England said before FIFA announced its decision. “I think it’s important that everyone’s there for her, and that we are there for her as a team and as a coaching staff. But ultimately, whatever decision they make, we have to unfortunately accept that and just get on with the game. There’s bigger things than just focusing on one player right now.”

England’s Lauren James will miss her team’s World Cup quarterfinal – and possibly the rest of the tournament – after receiving a red card in Monday’s Round of 16 match.

The 21-year-old forward appeared to step on Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie in the game’s 84th minute as Alozie was lying on the ground. The Lionesses still managed to secure their spot in the quarterfinals on penalties after the game finished 0-0 following regulation and extra time. But England will have to face Colombia without one of its best players.

And James could miss more than one match, as FIFA reserves the right to extend the ban. In the event of a red card, “further sanctions may be imposed by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee,” per the World Cup rules.

On Tuesday, Alozie called for James’ critics to “rest,” though she did note the play was deserving of a red card.

“We are playing on the world’s stage,” she wrote. “This game is one of passion, insurmountable emotions, and moments. All respect for Lauren James.”

James apologized in a reply to Alozie’s social media post.

“All my love and respect to you. I am sorry for what happened,” James wrote. “Also, for our England fans and my team-mates, playing with and for you is my greatest honour and I promise to learn from my experience.”

England’s Football Association issued its own statement after the incident, saying that James is “really sorry for her actions which led to the red card and is full of remorse.”

“It is wholly out of character for her,” the FA said in its statement, while also noting that it will be putting forward representation to FIFA on her behalf. FIFA’s decision on James’ ban could come after England’s quarterfinal match on Saturday.

“We fully respect FIFA’s disciplinary process and will not be making any further comment until after any decision has been made,” the statement concluded.

England captain Millie Bright also expressed her support for James after Monday’s match.

“It’s football. Listen, I have had red cards. Everyone goes through it as a player, everyone goes through it on the world stage,” Bright said. “But for me, it’s not a situation that needs too much light shining on it.

“It’s happened. It’s in the past. We are through. All that matters is we come together as a group, we have each others’ backs, and it is just another challenge in football that the player has to face. But we have got her back completely and we will get ready for the next game.”

England’s Rachel Daly said after the match that James was “disappointed” and “upset.”

“She’s a young player people forget that, they put a lot of pressure on her on the outside, media, everyone puts a lot of pressure on the kid, she’s a young girl, she’s got a lot to learn and she knows that,” Daly said.

“But ultimately it’s a team game, she’s been excellent for us and course, [we’ll] put an arm round her, help her through it and she’ll learn from it. She’s a fantastic player with a bright future ahead of her.”

Following the game, Arsenal coach Jonas Eidevall told BBC Sport that he thought James’ frustration in the match had boiled over, and that she should have been taken off sooner by England manager Sarina Wiegman.

“It’s decision fatigue. The two games before this probably took their toll for energy, we could see in the game that she was starting to take some bad decisions on and off the ball,” he said. “I think the lack of subs in the second half surprised me here form England, because I think the momentum was not going their way. England are quite lucky to actually be here now for extra-time and they could have been more proactive with the subs. Now they need to find a strategy with 10 players.”

Former England striker Ellen White agreed that James had grown frustrated. But she also agreed with the red card call.

“It’s disappointing. She was frustrated throughout the game, she wasn’t really in the game as much as she would have liked,” she said. “But she’s clearly stood on the Nigeria player. There was just no need for it, was there? Really disappointing.”

Wiegman addressed James’ red card after the match.

“It was a moment that was in a split-second,” she said. “It was later in the game so players get a little tired. She is inexperienced on this stage and in a split-second lost her emotions. She would never want to hurt someone, she is the sweetest person I know.”

“Things happen, you can’t change it,” she continued. “It’s a huge lesson for her to learn but isn’t something she did on purpose.”