Spain beat England 1-0 to become Women’s World Cup champions


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Spain’s women’s football team lifted the World Cup trophy for the first time after beating England 1-0 in front of almost 76,000 fans in Sydney.

Olga Carmona, the Spanish captain and Real Madrid defender, scored the winner in the first half with a carefully placed finish across the goal after England’s Lucy Bronze had given away the ball in midfield.

La Roja have become the first European side to win the quadrennial tournament since Germany in 2007, making Spain one of only two nations to have won both the men’s and women’s World Cup — alongside Germany.

Spain were made to work for the victory, with England’s Mary Earps — winner of the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper — saving a second-half penalty from Jennifer Hermoso after the referee reviewed replays and punished Keira Walsh for a handball in the box.

Galvanised by the scare, England tried to seize momentum but could not break down the opposition’s defence.

Spain’s defender Olga Carmona, left, fights for the ball with England forward Lauren Hemp © William West/AFP/Getty Images

Spain also frustrated England in more than 14 minutes of stoppage time; the match was extended due to lengthy deliberations leading up to the penalty and a long injury break.

Jorge Vilda, the Spanish coach who faced a revolt from players over his management last year, said after the match: “We’ve shown that we know how to suffer, we’ve grown, we’re world champions.”

Hermoso, who had a penalty saved, said: “I can’t even explain how we feel. We played the way we wanted to play and we did it.”

The new world champions, who celebrated by jumping and singing on the pitch with the Queen of Spain and one of her daughters, put in an assured display, founded upon a dominant midfield led by player of the tournament Aitana Bonmatí, intricate passing and hard pressing to retrieve the ball when England won possession.

However, the Lionesses had been unlucky not to open the scoring when Lauren Hemp hit the bar in the first half. England coach Sarina Wiegman gathered her players in a huddle following the final whistle, showcasing the team’s unity.

“We showed our fight, we showed our character, we just didn’t have that edge today,” England captain Millie Bright said. “It’s hard to take — but it’s football.”

UK culture secretary Lucy Frazer, who congratulated Spain, said the Lionesses had “inspired millions across the country with glorious performances, moments of magic and relentless determination and desire”.

With a core of players from Uefa Champions League winners FC Barcelona, Spain’s victory caps a remarkable ascent for the national team over the past decade.

It is only the third time Spain has qualified for the World Cup. Before this year, the side had never progressed beyond the first round of the knockout stages.

England had defeated Spain on the way to winning Euro 2022 last year.

Spain, the tournament’s top scorers with 18 goals, finished second behind Japan in their group, brushed aside Switzerland in a 5-1 win in the last 16, beat the Netherlands 2-1 after extra-time in the quarterfinals, and overcame Sweden to reach the final.

Cities across Spain made last-minute plans to set up fan zones with giant screens to show the final. Given the scorching heat outside, Madrid opted to broadcast the game inside the indoor WiZink arena, which was filled by about 6,000 people wearing the team’s red shirt or draped in Spanish flags.

Spain’s progress has not electrified the country to the same extent as England’s but its players have been hailed as pioneers by political leaders, drawing in new fans and changing some perceptions.

Lucía Córdoba, a mother of 13-year-old twin girls in Madrid, said her daughters had been gripped by the World Cup — so much so that they had adapted to early kick-off times by pulling forward their usual summer holiday wake-up time of about 11am. “They’ve been saying ‘C’mon, let’s get up, we want to watch the game’.”

Neither of the girls’ parents followed football and at school their preferred sport was athletics, she said. But the seeds had been planted when Spain’s midfielder Alexia Putellas, who plays for Barcelona, visited their school a few years ago on International Women’s Day. “When she started to appear on the news, on the TV, they got interested,” she said.

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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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