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As it happened: Spain v England, Fifa Women's World Cup final

Spain reigned supreme in Sydney.

FT: Spain 1-0 England

Good morning, and welcome along to our 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup final coverage.

New champions will be crowned as England and Spain face off in an all-European decider at Sydney’s Stadium Australia.

They’re both first-time finalists, and this should be a tight one.

Kick-off is 11am, the game is live on RTÉ Two (as well as BBC and ITV) but we’ll have everything you need to know right here.

Let’s start with some team news.

Sarina Wiegman has named an unchanged England XI. Lauren James returns from her two-match suspension, but the Chelsea star must make do with a place on the bench. Wiegman keeps her faith in Ella Toone.

Spain have made one big change: Barcelona teenager Salma Paralluelo starts ahead of 2021 and 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas.

Paths to the final…

England enter the showpiece with a 100% record in the tournament. The Lionesses beat Haiti (1-0), Denmark (1-0), and China (6-1) to top Group D. They edged out Nigeria and Colombia in the knockout stages, the former on penalties after a stalemate and the latter a 2-1 comeback. They stamped their ticket to the final with a 3-1 semi-final victory over Australia.

Spain, meanwhile, had a major blip in the group stages: a 4-0 defeat to Japan. That came after comprehensive wins over Costa Rica (3-0) and Zambia (5-0), and they finished second in Group C. They smashed Switzerland 5-1 in the round of 16 before late shows and 2-1 wins against the Netherlands (after extra time) and Sweden.

The closing ceremony is underway.

But time for the big question: Who will come out on top to be crowned 2023 Women’s World Cup champions?

Poll Results:

Spain (219)
England  (106)

Five minutes to go. The teams are in the tunnel, the stage is set and we’re set for the pre-match formalities at Stadium Australia.

Here we go…

KICK-OFF: England get us underway in Sydney, wearing their blue away strip.

Referee is Tori Penso of the USA.

2 mins - England start on the front foot. Both sides enjoy dominating possession, so it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds. Crunching challenge from Parades on Hemp early on.

4 mins – Spain find their feet and threaten but Bright and co. clear their lines. Hemp gets the first shot away at the other end.

6 mins - Both sides have started brightly, with few signs of nerves. It’s pretty end to end, Spain with the latest attack but Redondo’s cross from the right is too deep, and one from the other side sees Daly keep her out.

10 mins - Spain finding joy in the wide areas, but Daly puts in a big tackle to break their rhythm. Hemp looks to counter, trying to find Russo down the left channel but the link-up fails to fire.

12 mins - It fires on this occasion as England rob Spain and Russo shows her strength in the box. First corner of the game is comfortably claimed by Spain goalkeeper Cata Coll.

14 mins – Spain playing some lovely football, superbly navigating tight areas. Paralluelo has been central in the last few minutes, the Barcelona teenager showing why she deserved to start.

OFF THE CROSSBAR! Lauren Hemp rattles the woodwork, England with Spain under real pressure there. Dangerous ball from Stanway across the area, it eventually falls to Hemp and the Manchester City star’s snapshot goes close.

SO CLOSE! How have Spain not scored at the other end?!? Mary Earps does enough to keep Redondo’s glorious chance out.

Frantic stuff, two good chances at either end but it’s still 0-0.

20 mins - England’s front two, Hemp and Russo, are finding the gaps and the former has another go — but Coll claims. Earps jumps on the ball at the other end, cutting out Paralluelo’s cross as Redondo lurks. 

24 mins – Ona Batlle bodychecks Hemp on the run and England win a free kick in a good position. Stanway stands over it as the game is delayed due to a pitch invader, but the Lionesses don’t capitalise on the opportunity.

sydney-usa-20th-aug-2023-august-20-2023-live-images-from-fifa-womens-world-cup-final-between-spain-and-england-at-stadium-australia-sydney-australia-kim-pricecsmsipa-usa-credit-image Russo and Olga Carmona battle for the ball. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo


What a finish. England were caught in the middle of the field and Spain broke, with the left-hand side completely free. Full-back Carmona arrows home and Jorge Vilda’s side hit the front.

33 mins - England have responded quite well, but Spain have their tails up. They’re knocking the ball around nicely, happiest when in possession and playing on their own terms.

36 mins - Stanway epitomises England’s frustration with a stamp on Bonmati. Bright struggles to clear the free-kick and Parades flashes wide. Another decent chance for the Spaniards.

40 mins - England threaten at the other end, Hemp travels and finds Russo down the right. She plays a teasing ball across the box but Toone doesn’t get there, she’s offside anyway. Daly will be disappointed having made a brilliant delayed run.

Before that, Carter had tackled Mariona and it looked like a corner but the referee points to a kickout. England are playing with fire at times on the ball.

44 mins - England are looking to pull one back before the break, and they nearly slip up at the back with Hemp threatening.

One minute added on.

45 mins +1 – SO CLOSE! Paralluelo’s snapshot goes just wide, tipping off the outside of the post, as they look to double their lead. Great play down the right, with Batlle central to all their good stuff late on in that half.


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What do we reckon after the opening period? Spain have really impressed, Olga Carmona with the crucial goal in the 29th minute. They easily could be at least 2-0 up, but England also rattled the crossbar. The Lionesses really need a spark, could we see Lauren James come on sooner rather than later?

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Two England half time changes: Lauren James and Chloe Kelly come in for Russo and Daly.

SECOND HALF: And we’re off again.

48 mins - James is on the left-hand side of a front three, Kelly on the right, but they’re being needed in defence capacities early on. The second half has started like the first ended: Spain brilliant on the ball, and England struggling in possession when they have it.

50 mins - SAVE! Great save from Earps to deny Caldentey. Two corners in-a-row for Spain but nothing comes off them. England really need to get back into this game.

53 mins - Kelly, who appeared just off, plays a dangerous ball in - Batlle completed misses it and it falls to Hemp at the back post but she hits it just wide.

Yellow card for the Man City player for a slightly late challenge, but she hardly catches Codina.

56 mins - England threaten again, Kelly’s right-wing cross finding Carter deep but she can’t connect. They’re certainly making their move.

Spain with some excellent one-touch football as they look to weather the storm.

60 mins - Spain substitution Oihane Hernandez for Redondo.

Just before that, Kelly sent another delivery in but it nestled on the roof of the net.

62 mins - Bonmati lets fly and it goes just over.

64 mins – Spain appealing for handball… VAR check.

The referee is going to look at it, we know what that means most of the time…

Kiera Walsh is the player in question, having leaned in to put Caldentey off as she bore in on goal.


Hermoso v Earps, here we go…


Poor penalty from Hermoso, after Bronze does her utmost to get in her head in the build-up. Earps gets down to her left and keeps it out. Big moment.

70 mins - A few nervy moments for Spain goalkeeper Coll and her defence, England looking to capitalise on this momentum and level matters.

73 mins - Codina down getting treatment, and she’s replaced by Ivana Andres. 

74 mins - Bronze has a go from distance but it goes well over and her reluctant hand up in apology says it all. 

76 mins - Coll gets a hand to James’ effort after some good work from England. Greenwood with a good delivery from the corner, but Kelly’s header isn’t good enough. The ball eventually ends up with Bronze, but her cross from the right is too deep. Spain break; Paralluelo is on but they dilly-dally.

78 mins - Paralluelo is shown a (soft?) yellow card. She tangles with Greenwood as they contest for a high ball but there looks to be very little in it. Greenwood down getting treatment.

80 mins – It was actually Paralluelo’s knee that hit Greenwood’s head, missed that. Seems she was cut and needs a new kit and heavy strapping, hence another lengthy delay.

83 mins - Bronze with a few good balls from the right-hand side, but ultimately nothing comes off them. England up in arms: should they have had a free-kick on the edge of the box? James robs Carmona and the goalscorer hits back, but play continues. 

86 mins - Players down all over the pitch, Hermoso needing to head off the field after a challenge from Stanway. Professional foul; England win a free around midfield but Spain hold firm.

Some changes: Bethany England replaces Ella Toone for England, and looks like Alexia Putellas is also coming on.

88 mins - England pursuing all avenues, with Bright going up top. Herself and Beth England will fight for everything in there, good deliveries needed.

90 mins - Great block from Jess Carter to stop Hermoso, good link-up play beforehand.

Putellas replaces Caldentey.

13 minutes added on…

90 mins +1: Spain doing their utmost to keep the ball here but a long 13 minutes lie ahead…

90 mins +3: They break, with a brilliant through ball from Bonmatti finding Batlle. Again, Carter gets a touch on it and Earps produces another big save. Perhaps Batlle could have squared it, Putellas on in the middle.

90 mins +4 - Another good chance but Paralluelo can’t sort her feet out and kill the game.

90 mins +5 - Stanway epitomises England’s frustration as she throws Putellas to the floor and concedes a needless free-kick. The Lionesses keep it out, and counter…

90 mins +8 - Bronze with another big block to deny Paralluelo. Bit of pinball, but Spain burst forward through Bonmatti. Her right side was on but she opted to go herself, the blocked ball eventually falling to Paralluelo but Bronze stepping up.

90 mins +10 – England have been so sloppy as they chase the equaliser. Spain pounce on another loose pass, Hermoso surges up-field and Greenwood produces a stellar tackle in the box to stop her in her tracks.

90 mins + 12 – This is it for England….


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That’s that. Spain are crowned Women’s World Cup champions for the very first time. An entertaining final, and Spain certainly deserved the win. Emotional scenes as they celebrate, interesting to track the interactions (or lack thereof) with manager Jorge Vilda.

We’ll have our report on The 42 imminently, with Gavin Cooney’s comment piece to follow along with much more reaction and analysis.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

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