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2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup ends with 1-0 Spain win over England

In the World Cup Final, Spain won their first-ever Women's World Cup title over England. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup came to a close in Sydney, Australia, on Aug. 20 as Spain departed with their first ever World Cup title in a 1-0 win over England. 

The winning goal of the World Cup final was scored by Olga Carmona, a left-back defender and the Spanish national team captain. Carmona also plays left-back for her club team Real Madrid Femenino. The winning shot flew just inside the box in the 29th minute. Carmona played a pivotal role in the Spanish team’s success up to the final, scoring the winning goal in Spain’s semifinal match against Sweden as well. 

“First of all, I want to say that this shirt has become a classic. It’s just missing the star! They have to put it on. I have no words. I really don’t know…I don’t know how to explain exactly how I feel,” said Carmona per Optus Sport when asked how she felt after the win. “I dedicate it to the whole country, what we have experienced. We have felt the people on the streets. We felt the vibes in the game. It has cost a lot, but we have achieved this in one go.”

Spain has been coached by Jorge Vilda since 2015 and has many elite players, including arguably the best female player in the world, Alexia Putellas. Other Spanish world class players include Ona Batlle, 24-year-old UEFA Player of the Year Aitana Bonmati and Spanish veteran Jenni Hermoso. 

The English are coached by Sarina Wiegman and have no shortage of star players, including 2020’s Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Lucy Bronze, Keira Walsh, Lauren James and Georgia Stanway. 

Spain’s style of play is based on heavy attacking possession, and this played a key role in their success. Spain held the majority of the possession throughout the match, with 58% possession and five shots on target. Meanwhile, England held 42% possession with 8 shots, of which only three were on target. 

Though Spain walked away as first time champions, the 2023 World Cup was historic worldwide. This World Cup marked a lot of firsts for many nations, including smashing viewing records and the United States’ first exit in the round of 16, the U.S.’s earliest World Cup elimination. U.S. stars Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz retired following the World Cup. 

“This game is so beautiful, even in its cruelest moments. This group was so very special, and I am immensely proud of every single one of us,” Rapinoe said in an Instagram post. “This team is in special hands as I walk away, just like it always was and always will be.” 

After their early World Cup exit, the future of the U.S. women’s national team has left fans questioning as both head coach Vlatko Andonovski and general manager Kate Markgraf have parted ways with the team. Across the pond, Wiegman, the back-to-back UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year, has stated she plans to remain in England despite rumors of being contacted for the open position in the USWNT.

Though Wiegman will stay in England, there has been a mass exodus of national team head coaches amid poor World Cup results. Along with Andonovski, eight other national team head coaches have since resigned or been fired, including Brazil’s Pia Sundhage, Ireland’s Vera Pauw, Italy’s  Milena Bertolini, Norway’s Hege Riise, Colombia’s Nelson Abadía, Philippine’s Alen Stajcic, Denmark’s Lars Søndergaard and Haiti’s Nicolas Delépine. Costa Rica’s head coach Amelia Valverde has also been rumored to leave her position while there is a strong push for Spain’s Jorge Vilda to resign as the head coach following a World Cup celebratory kiss controversy. Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish FA, has been embroiled in controversy after kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips without consent during the post-game celebrations. The entire Spanish coaching staff, except Vilda, has resigned in protest of Rubiales’ refusal to resign. 

Although many teams are on the lookout for new head coaches — in Spain’s case, any coaches at all ­— there is a quick turnaround to the 2024 Olympics. Players have returned to their club teams but will soon be back rebuilding and preparing to take home gold in Paris. There, fans will hope to see star players who were absent during the 2023 World Cup, including Dutch forward Vivianne  Miedema, English captain Leah Williamson, forward Beth Mead and U.S. defender Becky Sauerbrunn.

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