Spain defeated England 1-0 in Sydney on Sunday to win its first-ever Women’s World Cup title. Olga Carmona’s first-half goal separated the sides in the ninth-ever edition of the contest while Aitana Bonmati was awarded the Women’s World Cup Golden Ball as player of the tournament.
It was a heartbreaking day for England, looking to become the first squad in their country to win a World Cup since the men’s side did so in 1966. They hit the woodwork, saved a penalty, and defended valiantly but La Roja were true to form and scored early.
One month ago when the Women’s World Cup kicked off in Australia and New Zealand, no one could have predicted Spain would emerge as champions. Turmoil enveloped the Spanish camp leading into the tournament. The team lost 12 of their players in a revolt against manager Jorge Vilda and their star player, Alexia Putellas was returning from a long absence due to injury.
Spain started off its campaign well with wins over Costa Rica and Zambia but suffered a 4-0 loss to Japan. They were unlikely contenders from the start but somehow managed to overcome England, Sweden, and the Netherlands on the road to a World title.
On Sunday at Stadium Australia, the teams lined out before sold-out crowds to sing the national anthems one last time. Lauren Hemp almost put England in front when she hit the crossbar with a curling strike within 15 minutes. Then Spanish defender, Carmona struck in the 29th minute. She dribbled towards the edge of the box and blasted the ball through English defenders and past goalkeeper Mary Earps.
Carmona delivered for her country at a crucial moment as Spain held England scoreless for the rest of the match. Spain held more possession and created more chances as Earps played exceptionally well to keep La Roja to one.
Jenni Hermoso had a chance to double Spain’s lead in the 67th minute when Keira Walsh committed a handball inside the box and Spain was awarded a penalty. Hermoso stood up to hit it, but Earps guessed right and dived on the ball to keep England’s hopes alive.
Despite Earps’ best efforts, England could not overcome the deficit and La Roja ran down the clock to become champions. The unlikely winners have marked a new era as the first team other than the United States to win since 2011.
Sweden overcame co-hosts Australia 2-0 in the third-place playoff on Saturday.