Spain won the Women’s World Cup for the first time in their history with skipper Olga Carmona sweeping in the only goal for a deserved 1-0 victory over England in Sunday’s final.
In front of a crowd of nearly 76 000 at Stadium Australia in Sydney, Spain were the more accomplished side and had more chances, including missing a second-half penalty.
Spain’s triumph is vindication for Jorge Vilda and the Spanish football federation, who stuck with the coach even after 15 players last year said they no longer wanted to represent their country under him.
England coach Sarina Wiegman, who has now suffered back-to-back defeats in the final, and her European champions can have few complaints.
- Newspapers distributors congratulate Blueprint publisher on ministerial appointment
- Declare state of emergency on malaria, reps panel urges FG
Spain are the fifth team to lift the World Cup since the tournament began in 1991, joining outgoing champions the United States, Germany, Norway and Japan.
In front of Spain’s Queen Letizia, defender Carmona scored what turned out to be the winner, rampaging from left-back to thrash the ball in low and hard on 29 minutes.
Playing in their blue second kit, England had the first sniff of a chance in the fifth minute but Lauren Hemp shot weakly at goalkeeper Cata Coll.
There was little to choose between them in the opening exchanges before both teams had golden opportunities on the quarter-hour mark.
First, Manchester City forward Hemp struck the bar with a curler that had Coll well beaten.
Spain went up the other end and should have scored but Salma Paralluelo – in for Alexia Putellas – missed the ball in the six-yard box.
Five minutes later Spain, who had never won a knockout game at the Women’s World Cup until this tournament and had lost 4-0 to Japan in the group phase, were ahead.
Mariona Caldentey slid in an inch-perfect pass for Carmona, who came flying unmarked down the left before lashing the ball into the bottom corner.
Vilda, who recalled three of the 15 mutineers for the World Cup, did not even raise a smile on the sidelines.
England looked uncharacteristically rattled and the 19-year-old Barcelona attacker Paralluelo, who was a constant threat, shaved the post with the last kick of the half.