Spain Beats England to become 2023 Women’s World Cup Champions
England’s wait to win a first Women’s World Cup title goes on after Spain deservedly triumphed in the final in Sydney.
The Lionesses, looking to become the first England senior side since the men’s team in 1966 to win the World Cup, suffered heartbreak after being outplayed by a Spanish side full of flair and creativity.
England’s players fell to their knees in tears at the final whistle as Spain celebrated inside their penalty area after dealing with a final corner kick in the 14th minute of nerve-wracking stoppage time.
Spain captain Olga Carmona slotted the winner past goalkeeper Mary Earps in the first half, after England’s Lucy Bronze lost possession in midfield.
England manager Sarina Wiegman, who has now lost two successive World Cup finals, introduced Lauren James and Chloe Kelly at half-time but Spain maintained control despite the Lionesses’ best efforts.
Earps made several stunning saves, including one from the penalty spot to deny Jenni Hermoso after Barcelona midfielder Keira Walsh had been penalised for handball following a lengthy video assistant referee review.
But it was one step too far for the European champions, who lost just their second match in two years under Wiegman.
Spain are crowned champions for the first time despite going into the tournament under a cloud of controversy following a dispute between players and the Spanish football federation.Both teams came into the final full of confidence, having improved on their performances throughout the tournament.
England, who played in front of a sold-out Wembley crowd last summer to win the Euros final, started brightly, testing Spain’s defence with balls over the top and in behind. It was a deserved victory for Spain but it will feel like a missed opportunity for the Lionesses, who have found a way to win so often under Wiegman but could not find the answers in the biggest game in their history.
Prior to this year’s competition, Spain had only ever won one Women’s World Cup match. They had suffered defeat at the hands of England in the Euro 2022 quarter-finals but unlike that evening in Brighton when the Lionesses came from behind to win 2-1, Spain stuck to their task and saw out victory.
The streets of Sydney, which had been draped in green and gold for most of the competition, were transformed on Sunday to represent Spain and England’s colours.
England fans came dressed in costumes, banging drums and chanting on the city’s trains en route to the stadium and though they dominated numbers in the crowd, it was Spain’s supporters celebrating at full-time.