If the keeper is your best player, you’re in trouble
The fact that goalkeeper Mary Earps was England’s best player against Spain tells you everything you need to know about this World Cup final.
The Lionesses tried their best but, ultimately, we have to accept the better team won on the night in Sydney. As painful as it is, that’s the truth that Sarina Wiegman and her squad will have to embrace.
Spain played some pretty football with nice passing passages and they showed their in-game intelligence. Just look at their winning goal.
Lucy Bronze tried to keep running and running with the ball until finally she ran out of room and lost possession in the middle of the pitch.
England line up for the national anthem prior to the FIFA Women’s World Cup final
England’s Lucy Bronze drops to her knees in frustration during the World Cup final with Spain
Sarina Wiegman insisted England gave everything they had in their World Cup final defeat to Spain
Spain knew that meant there was oceans of space for them to exploit down England’s right-hand side. They immediately spread play out to that wing and Olga Carmona scored from it.
Earps gave us a lifeline by saving that second-half penalty, and we hoped that might be the turning point in this final, but it wasn’t to be. It will take time for the Lionesses to get over this defeat.
It’ll linger for longer than the flight home from Australia. Though we have to applaud Spain, this will still feel like a missed opportunity to Millie Bright and Co.
We had the jubilation of the Euros. Now we’ve had the devastation of the World Cup. But Wiegman’s players should be proud of themselves regardless of it ending in disappointment.
They dealt with everything that was thrown at them — the talent they lost to retirements and injuries before a ball was kicked at this tournament, the injury to Keira Walsh against Denmark, the red card for Lauren James against Nigeria — and reached the final. Sadly it turned out to be Spain’s day, not England’s.