England’s dream of winning their first global senior football championship in 58 years died yesterday on the fields of Sydney, Australia, where the Spanish revolution swept away the Three Lionesses in the final game of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Since England won the men’s World Cup at home in 1966, the country’s men and women teams have recorded a series of near misses, with their nearest to the crown being semifinal finishes at different editions of FIFA’s senior championships.
Many thought 2023 would be different following the Three Lionesses escape from the claws of Super Falcons, who they beat narrowly on penalties despite playing with a lady down.
But yesterday in a frigid winter night in Sydney, Olga Carmona’s goal separated the teams in a tournament that showcased the evolution of football as a more technical and tactical game.
From the first minute to the 14th minute of second half stoppage, the Spanish team withstood England’s direct attacks. They strategically broke through England’s defense with rondos, poise, and well-timed runs.
The game was effectively decided in the 29th minute by Carmona, who finished a slick move involving Teresa Abelleira and Mariona Caldentey. Spain held off everything England three at them to become the latest country to win the Women’s World Cup.
They join a group comprising U.S., Japan, Germany, and Norway.Speaking after the final whistle, Captain Irene Paredes said some of the players had grown up thinking that football was not for them, but now they had proven themselves on the world stage.
The reserves were ecstatic, spilling onto the field to celebrate with the rest of the team. They hugged, danced, cried, and screamed with joy. Aitana Bonmatí, the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, summed up their feelings with a loud and triumphant “Vamos.”