Less than twelve months after a player rebellion, Spain achieved their inaugural Women’s World Cup triumph by overcoming England 1-0 on Sunday, with Olga Carmona’s first-half goal proving decisive.
This victory not only signaled Spain’s debut on the international stage but also solidified their status as the first European team to secure the Women’s World Cup championship since Germany’s victory in 2007.
At the end of the match, the Spanish players jubilantly converged in front of their goal to revel in their historic achievement.
In the 29th minute, Carmona’s left-footed strike navigated its way into the distant corner of the net, evading the attempts of England’s goalkeeper Mary Earps who dived to make the save.
Carmona’s celebratory act involved lifting her jersey to expose the word “Merchi” inscribed in ink on her undershirt, a homage to her former school.
Significantly, Carmona had also netted the pivotal goal in Spain’s 2-1 semifinal victory against Sweden, making her the first player since Carli Lloyd in 2015 to score in both a World Cup semifinal and final.
In the 68th minute, Spain had an opportunity to extend their advantage, yet Jenni Hermoso’s penalty endeavor was thwarted by Earps, who astutely anticipated the shot and lunged to her left.
Spain’s triumphant accomplishment transpired in the aftermath of a nearly-rebellious situation by players the previous year. Fifteen members of the national team had announced their withdrawal, attributing it to mental health concerns and a desire for a more professional setting. Notwithstanding this turmoil, three of these players reconciled with the federation and partook in the World Cup.
England, bolstered by their European Championship triumph on home soil the preceding summer, entered the tournament with momentum. However, injuries hindered the participation of three crucial players—captain Leah Williamson, Fran Kirby, and Beth Mead—due to knee injuries.
Sarina Wiegman, the England coach, became the first coach to steer teams to consecutive World Cup final appearances, following her 2019 stint with the Netherlands, where they were defeated by the United States. Regrettably for Wiegman, her World Cup final record remained at 0-2.
England’s journey to the final encompassed a 3-1 victory over host Australia in the semifinals. Notably, Lauren James, the team’s leading scorer with three goals and three assists, missed two matches owing to a suspension arising from an incident during the knockout stage.
The match witnessed a brief interruption in the 25th minute when an individual entered the field, promptly apprehended by security personnel.
Spain’s starting lineup featured 19-year-old Paralluelo, who had previously scored pivotal goals for Spain against Sweden and the Netherlands. Despite coming agonizingly close to scoring just before halftime, she was cautioned with a yellow card in the 78th minute for a foul.
With a crowd of 75,784 attendees, including tennis legend Billie Jean King, the final unfolded at Stadium Australia. The two teams had encountered each other in the preceding year’s Euros quarterfinals, resulting in England emerging victorious 2-1 after extra time, courtesy of Georgia Stanway’s decisive goal.