Women's world champions for the first time: Spain's footballers disenchanted England's European champions in the World Cup final and won the title. The team of controversial coach Jorge Vilda defeated Sarina Wiegman's selection 1-0 (1-0) in Sydney on Sunday. Real Madrid captain Olga Carmona scored the decisive goal for the extremely strong new world champions in the 29th minute. England goalkeeper Mary Earps saved a hand penalty from Jennifer Hermoso (70th) in front of 75,784 spectators.
13 years ago, Spain's men triumphed at the World Cup in South Africa. Now the footballers framed the upswing of their sport in the home of Champions League winners FC Barcelona in gold. 57 years after the men's World Cup success at Wembley, the English women fended off the superiority of the Spanish women in vain. At the end of a top-class tournament with 32 participants for the first time and worldwide attention, they succeeded the US team that had won the title in 2015 and 2019.
England's successful coach Wiegman had to cope with a number of absences before the tournament, such as that of EM goalscorer Beth Mead and captain Leah Williamson. Their players impressed during the tournament with esprit, efficiency and physical power - but in the end they often couldn't keep up. Wiegman played the fourth final in a major tournament in a row: In 2017, the 53-year-old lost to the USA at the World Cup when her home country Netherlands was selected. This time Spain prevented the really big coup.
Head coach Vilda put noble joker Salma Paralluelo in the starting XI for world footballer Alexia Putellas. The 19-year-old former track and field athlete had recommended herself with one goal each in the quarterfinals and semifinals - and immediately started powerfully. Spain repeatedly played into the opposing penalty area in the early stages. Paralluelo and Alba Redonda missed a great opportunity to take the lead in the 16th minute.
On the other side, Lauren Hemp also startled the Spaniards with a crossbar bang. England midfielder Georgia Stanway was the only Bundesliga player on the field. She was chasing after just under half an hour as the Spaniards launched a squeaky clean attack that Real Madrid's Carmona completed with a low shot into the right corner to make it 1-0.
The left-back had already scored the semi-final winner against Sweden. Paralluelo almost made it 2-0 with a shot off the post just before the break. In addition to the recently suspended young star James, Wiegman also brought in Chloe Kelly, the winning goal scorer from the 2022 European Championship final against Germany. However, her team conceded a penalty after a handball from Keira Walsh and the use of video evidence: Hermoso's shot from the point was too weak and unplaced for goalkeeper Earps.
Winning the title should be a particular source of satisfaction for head coach Vilda. Last September, 15 national players declared their temporary withdrawal from the Spanish selection in an email. However, the association stood before Vilda. Three players - Aitana Bonmati, Mariona Caldentey and Ona Batlle - returned to the selection. Above all, the strong Bonmati from FC Barcelona contributed to the World Cup triumph.