Olga Carmona struck the only goal of the game as Spain defeated England in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup final in Sydney.
England won the European Championships on home soil last summer in what many felt was an example of what can be achieved when players completely buy into their manager and perform to their maximum for them. Spain proved in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final that you don’t have to have any love whatsoever for your boss, as long as you’re very good at football when it matters.
The Opta supercomputer could barely separate England and Spain heading into the 2023 Women’s World Cup final, and sure enough, it ended up a cagey affair that was decided by one moment of brilliance. Olga Carmona’s 29th-minute strike was enough to win it for Jorge Vilda and his team – despite the somewhat strained relationship between players and manager – while Spain were able to keep the Lionesses relatively quiet at the other end.
Mary Earps cemented her place as one of the best goalkeepers in the world with a series of fine stops, including saving a second-half penalty from Jenni Hermoso, but it was ultimately in vain as Spain secured victory at Stadium Australia.
England came within a whisker of taking the lead when Lauren Hemp hit the crossbar in the 16th minute, while Earps was forced into a fine reflex save from Alba Redondo at the other end moments later. Hemp was trying to make things happen for her team, having three shots at goal inside the first 20 minutes, with only one Spain player (Salma Paralluelo) able to match that amount across the entire match.
Just before the half-hour mark though, Spain took the lead when Lucy Bronze tried dribbling forward and lost the ball on the halfway line, with Vilda’s side taking full advantage of the gap left down England’s right as Mariona Caldentey slid the ball to her captain Carmona, who hit her shot hard and low across Earps into the far corner of the net. It was a perfect strike from a chance that had an expected goal (xG) value of just 0.08.
Carmona became the second-youngest player to score in both the semi-final and final of a single edition of a Women’s World Cup tournament, behind only Alex Morgan in 2011 (22y 15d). It was also Spain’s 10th first-half goal at the tournament, more than any other team.
Paralluelo became the first teenager to start a Women’s World Cup final since China’s Pu Wei in 1999, and the 19-year-old almost made it 2-0 with the last kick of the first half when she struck the outside of the post with a first-time shot from a low ball arriving from the right.
Sarina Wiegman made a big call at half-time, bringing off Alessia Russo and Rachel Daly for Chloe Kelly and the returning Lauren James, back from suspension after her red card in the last 16 against Nigeria.
Earps was forced into an excellent save down to her left when Caldentey struck a shot from the edge of the box early in the second half as Spain continued to have the better of the final in Sydney, though Hemp had yet another attempt as she got on the end of a cross from Kelly but steered her effort wide.
The impressive Aitana Bonmatí was dictating much of the play, and almost scored herself when she hit a shot just over the bar shortly after the hour mark after Keira Walsh had given the ball away on the halfway line. It was Walsh who nudged a loose ball with her hand in her own penalty area just minutes later, leading to a VAR check and a spot-kick awarded to Spain. However, Earps guessed the right way and saved Jenni Hermoso’s penalty to her left.
James had been kept quiet by Spain since her arrival at the break until she found herself in down Spain’s right and saw a good effort tipped over the bar by Cata Coll, and that was as close as Wiegman’s team came to saving the final.
England were given some hope when 13 minutes were added on at the end of the second half, but Spain closed the game out to secure their first ever Women’s World Cup.
On this page, you’ll find the Opta match centre for the final, which includes team and player stats, a passing network, an Opta chalkboard and more. Everything you need to do your own analysis on the England vs Spain FIFA Women’s World Cup final at Stadium Australia, Sydney.
England vs Spain Opta Stats
- Spain are the fifth team to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup, after the United States (4), Germany (2), Norway (1) and Japan (1). Prior to this year’s edition, Spain had only ever won one Women’s World Cup match.
- Having been beaten in the final by USWNT while in charge of the Netherlands in 2019, England’s Sarina Wiegman is the first coach to finish as runner-up in two Women’s World Cup tournaments.
- Spain’s Olga Carmona became the seventh player to score in both the semi-final and final at a single Women’s World Cup, and the first since Carli Lloyd for USA in 2015. Aged 23 years and 69 days, Carmona is the fourth-youngest player to score in the final.
- Spain, who lost 4-0 to Japan 20 days ago, are only the second side to be crowned champions of the Women’s World Cup despite having lost a group stage game during that tournament, after Japan in 2011.
- England have lost a competitive match for the first time under Wiegman, having gone 29 such games without defeat since losing against Spain in the SheBelieves Cup in March 2020 (W25 D4).
- Aged 19 years and 280 days, Spain’s Salma Paralluelo became the fifth teenager to start in the final of a Women’s World Cup, and the first since Pu Wei for China against USA in 1999 (18 years, 324 days).
- Lucy Bronze made her 20th start at the Women’s World Cup, now the outright most of any player for her country; only Jill Scott has appeared in more games overall at the tournament for England (21).
- Spain’s penalty, saved by Mary Earps from Jenni Hermoso, was the 27th to be awarded at this edition of the Women’s World Cup, the most on record at the tournament (2011 onwards). Hermoso is only the second player on record to fail to convert two penalties at a single edition of the tournament, after Nikita Parris for England in 2019 (excluding shootouts).