FOOTBALL – Current European Champions, England took on Spain in the 2023 FIFA Women´s World Cup Final. Before kick-off, England were ranked 4, with Spain at 6. It was always going to be an amazing game between these two sides.
The last time England won a World Cup final title was with the men´s team in 1966. England boss, Wiegman has an impressive track record, leading her side to 18 wins out of 19 matches at major tournaments.
Spain had to put aside any “behind the scenes” controversy between the players and their coach, Jorge Vilda.
The 2023 FIFA Women´s World Cup Final
The match began at a fast pace and was pretty much end to end stuff for the first 10 minutes. During that time, the first real chance came for England. A loose ball landed well for Lauren Hemp. The Lioness got her left foot on it and sent a strike towards the bottom right corner, but Coll got to it without any problem.
After a cross from Stanway was dealt with by Spain, the English side were back on the attack. Daly sent the ball towards the area for Hemp, but her shot hit off the crossbar.
Then it was another close chance for Spain as Caldentey ran down the left wing and crossed to Paralluelo. The teenager failed to connect fully with the ball and it was deflected towards Redondo. But Earps was there and got a touch to Redondo´s strike.
Lauren Hemp was then brought down by Batlle and won a free kick from a good position. However, it came to nothing.
The play was good from both sides up to this point, but the Spanish side seemed to have more confidence in their play.
Then, just before the half-hour mark, the first goal came.
An error from Bronze meant Caldentey had the possession of ball. Olga Carmona made the run from behind and down the left wing to receive the forward pass from Caldentey. And an incredible strike into the bottom right corner left Eamps unable to make the stretch. It was 1-0 for Spain.
Under 10 minutes later, another good chance came for Spain when a long free kick was headed away by Bright, but wasn´t cleared completely. Paredes got to it and smashed a shot in which went just wide of the net.
In the run up to half time, there were a few chances. First for England, as Russo sent the ball into the perfect position, but Toone didn´t get to it. The offside flag was raised in any case. Then Hemp sent in a curling shot at goal, which was sent away by Coll.
And just into the minute added for stoppage time, another chance came for Spain. Batlle delivered into the penalty area for Paralluelo, but her strike just skimmed the right-hand post.
The first half ended 1-0 for Spain
Just 4 minutes in, and Caldentey got a chance for Spain, but Earps just managed to get a glove to it, for the corner to go Spain. Spain then had a couple of corners, but none came to anything.
Then, 5 minutes on, a good chance came for England. Kelly sent a cross to find Hemp at the far post. Hemp then struck with her left foot, but the ball just went wide. Immediately after, Hemp was shown the yellow card for her tackle on Codina.
Only 10 minutes into this second half, and it was another chance for Spain. Hermoso sent the ball forward for Bonmatí who used her left foot to send the ball towards the top right corner of the net. It went just over, but it left Earps scrambling.
Just over the hour mark, and there was confusion in the box. It was mayhem as the ball went from player to player. The lionesses were desperately trying to get possession away from the Spanish side, but in the midst of it all, Spain claimed handball against Walsh. Caldentey had the ball and was in position to strike, but it appeared the trajectory of the ball changed. However, the referee ignored the claims and waived play on. But VAR intervened and invited the referee to look at the touchline screen. Subsequently, the penalty was indeed awarded.
Penalty to Spain
Jenni Hermoso stepped up, but it was saved by Earps. It remained 1-0 for Spain.
With 20 minutes of normal time remaining, the pace was frantic. Codina was brought down and required treatment. She had to be taken off and was replaced by Andres.
England were now piling on the pressure and looking dangerous. James who came on as a substitute at the start of the second half sent a left-footed attempt towards the roof of the net. However, Coll managed to get a touch and sent it over the bar.
Then in the 78th minute, Paralluelo was shown the yellow card. In a clash for the ball with Greenwood, Paralluelo lifted her knee at the same time Greenwood put her head down. Greenwood went on the ground where she lay for a long time. She was treated on the pitch for her head injury. However, despite sporting a head bandage, she didn´t need to be substituted and continued to play.
By this point in the game, there were lots of hard tackles. Hermoso was the latest to receive treatment. And in the 90th minute of the game, Hermoso had another chance to redeem herself from the failed penalty. Caldentey sent the ball into the area for Hermoso, but Carter was there to remove the threat.
13 minutes added for stoppage time
The Spanish side must have thought they had done enough, but all of a sudden, there was a lifeline for England. They had 13 more minutes to make that difference.
But 2 minutes in, and Spain had the first chance. Batlle raced towards the goal and had a brilliant chance, but it deflected off Carter, and then Earps got her glove to it.
Three minutes later, another error from Bronze gave the ball back to Spain. But Bronze then managed to block Paralluelo and stop her attempt at goal.
Spain had threatened for most of the way through stoppage time. There was then another spell of hard tackles from both sides. It was already over the 13 minutes when England were given a corner. Everyone was in the box, including Earps. It was mayhem once again.
It was all over
Under a massive amount of pressure Coll claimed the ball, stopped the game from going to extra time, and destroyed the Lionesses’ dreams.
Spain were the 2023 FIFA Women´s World Cup winners. Champions of the World, and they had just made history.