We look ahead to the 2023 Women’s World Cup final at Stadium Australia with our Spain vs England prediction and preview.

Spain vs England Stats: Quick Hits

  • The Opta supercomputer makes Spain narrow favourites to win in 90 minutes (35.9%).
  • This will be Spain and England’s first ever meeting at a Women’s World Cup, and the first time either have played in the final.
  • Lauren James is back from suspension, having recorded six goal involvements in the tournament prior to her red card in the round of 16.

Match Preview

It’s perhaps not the final many expected, but Spain against England promises to be a fascinating contest between two teams making their first ever appearance in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final, the first time that has occurred since the inaugural tournament in 1991.

Either Spain or England will become the fifth nation to win the Women’s World Cup after the United States (4), Germany (2), Norway (1) and Japan (1). It will also be the third final between two European sides, after Norway 2-0 Germany in 1995 and Germany 2-1 Sweden in 2003.

England could become just the second team, after Germany in 2003 and 2007, to win the Women’s World Cup as reigning European champions. They will be up against it, though, with Spain having scored 17 goals in their six games at this Women’s World Cup, 11 more than in their first seven games in previous editions (six across 2015 and 2019).

Jorge Vilda’s side have been somewhat leaky at the other end, however, conceding seven goals at this tournament, the most by a team to reach the final since Norway in 1991, who let in eight. Four of the goals Spain have conceded came in their 4-0 defeat to Japan in the group stage, when their opponents only had 22.9% possession, the lowest by a team to win a Women’s World Cup match since that data was recorded (from 2011). Perhaps this could be a blueprint for Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses.

It seems unlikely Wiegman’s team will see that little of the ball with Keira Walsh around. Of players to have attempted at least 100+ passes while under pressure from an opponent at this year’s WWC, Walsh has the best pass completion rate (86.7%), followed by Spain’s Teresa Abelleira (85.5%).

Keira Walsh pass map

Abelleira will be one for England to keep an eye on, having created 23 chances in the tournament.  Only Japan’s Aya Miyama (25 in 2015) has created more at a single WWC since Opta started recording this data in 2011.

These two teams have shown so far that competent passing can make all the difference, with Spain (84.2%) and England (83.7%) having the best passing accuracies of all teams in the tournament, while also being the most accurate in passing under high pressure (Spain 77.5%, England 74.6%).

Spain’s reputation for passing for the sake of passing is also somewhat unfair, having made 42-line breaking passes into the opponent’s penalty area during the tournament, 14 more than second-best USA (28). England have made the most passes breaking at least two lines (63) at this WWC, though, so both defences will need to be alert and disciplined.

Spain’s journey to the final has been made all the more impressive in that it has come in spite of the division between players and manager. That appeared to be on show even after their dramatic semi-final win over Sweden when some players seemed to snub Vilda during celebrations. Wiegman on the other hand looks to have total buy-in from her players, which could be the difference in Sydney as it was in their semi-final victory over Australia.

England’s 3-1 win against the co-hosts brought their goals total in this Women’s World Cup campaign to 13, equal to their best tally at a single edition of the tournament (13 in 2019).

Should they open the scoring in the final, the writing may be on the wall for Spain as the Lionesses are unbeaten in all 19 WWC games in which they’ve scored first (W17 D2), including winning on each of the last 13 such occasions.

Lauren James will be available again for Wiegman after serving her two-match suspension for her red card against Nigeria in the last 16. James has been directly involved in six goals at this year’s Women’s World Cup, with only France’s Kadidiatou Diani involved in more (seven).

James’ rate of a goal involvement every 48 minutes is the best among the 13 players to have been involved in at least four goals at this year’s tournament, though whether she will get back into the starting line-up after England managed so well without her in the quarter and semi-finals remains to be seen.

Spain vs England Head-to-Head

This will be the first time these two have faced each other at a Women’s World Cup. England have won seven and drawn four of their previous 13 games in all competitions, with Spain winning just twice.

Their most recent encounter came in the quarter-finals of last year’s European Championship, with England winning 2-1 in Brighton. Esther González gave Spain the lead early in the second half, before Ella Toone equalised with just six minutes remaining. The game went into extra-time, with Georgia Stanway ultimately hitting the winner for England, who of course went on to lift the trophy on home soil.

England v Spain Euros stats

Spain vs England Prediction

Spain v England Opta prediction

This one is almost too close to call; just what you want from a final, really. The Opta supercomputer has to earn its keep, though, and so has calculated Spain as narrow favourites with a 35.9% chance of winning in normal time. England are given a 33.7% likelihood of doing the same, meaning a 30.4% probability of extra time.

Whatever happens, it could be a dramatic finish. Each of the six goals scored in Spain’s quarter-final and semi-final matches came after the 80th minute (including extra-time). That is quite the turnaround considering they had only seen four of the previous 32 goals in their WWC matches scored after the 80th minute.

Spain vs England Squads

Spain: María Isabel Rodríguez, Enith Salón, Catalina Coll, Ona Batlle, Irene Paredes, Ivana Andrés, Oihane Hernández, Laia Codina, Olga Carmona, Rocío Gálvez, Teresa Abelleira, Aitana Bonmatí, Irene Guerrero, Alexia Putellas, María Pérez, Claudia Zornoza, Mariona Caldentey, Esther González, Jennifer Hermoso, Eva Navarro, Salma Paralluelo, Alba Redondo, Athenea del Castillo.

England: Mary Earps, Lucy Bronze, Niamh Charles, Keira Walsh, Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright, Lauren James, Georgia Stanway, Rachel Daly, Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp, Jordan Nobbs, Hannah Hampton, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Esme Morgan, Jess Carter, Laura Coombs, Chloe Kelly, Bethany England, Katie Zelem, Ellie Roebuck, Katie Robinson, Alessia Russo.

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