Olga Carmona delivered a decisive blow with a forceful, ground-hugging shot, guiding Spain to their inaugural Women’s World Cup victory by defeating England 1-0 in the final at Stadium Australia.
Before this tournament, Spain had never progressed beyond a knockout round in a major competition whereas this match marked the Lionesses only second defeat under Sarina Wiegman’s leadership since her appointment in 2021.
In the early stages of the first half, both teams had opportunities. England came close to scoring when Rachel Daly played a pass back to Lauren Hemp near the edge of the penalty area, and her left-footed, curling strike ricocheted off the crossbar.
La Roja broke the deadlock in the 29th minute when Carmona, overlapping Caldentey, sped down the left wing and unleashed a powerful, low shot into the far-right corner. Lucy Bronze, who initially lost possession, was caught out of position, allowing Spain’s captain the space to receive the ball and score.
At halftime, Wiegman made changes, introducing Lauren James, who had served a two-match suspension in the quarterfinals and semi-finals, along with Chloe Kelly. These changes led to a shift in formation from a back-three to a back four, resulting in more England chances, but Spain’s defence held firm.
In the 66th minute, Spain was awarded a penalty after a lengthy VAR review determined that Keira Walsh had handled the ball in the box. Jennifer Hermoso failed to double her team’s lead as Earps made a spectacular save.
England attempted to regain momentum after the penalty save, with James taking the lead, but the young Chelsea player often found herself surrounded by the Spanish defence. Her best opportunity sailed just above the crossbar.
The fact that La Roja beat the defending European champion and the pre-match favourite, despite the controversies and internal divisions that cast a shadow over the national team throughout the tournament, renders this accomplishment truly remarkable.
As for England, the nation’s heart broke. In a tribute to the Lionesses, Prince William put it best as he took to X (formerly known as Twitter) “Although it’s the result none of us wanted, Lionesses you have done yourselves and the nation proud”.