Spain - England summary: Olga, score, goals, highlights, Women’s World Cup Final 2023
Spain vs England, World Cup final: as it happened
Some more photos of the celebrations on the pitch
Because who doesn't love a post tournament on-pitch party?!
Vilda post-game quotes:
"Vilda out? This is for everyone and I'm happy because we've made a lot of people happy.
I want to say to all of Spain that we have felt your support. Your hearts have come to us from Spain."
Here's the photo we all wanted to see...
La Reina - the Queen - with her World Cup gold medal! What an acheivement!
Support coming in from all across Spain
World Cup winner Joan Capdevila is the latest player to show his support for the side!
Thank you for joining!
That's the end of this live feed and the end of AS USA's coverage of the Women's World Cup 2023. What a truly stunning tournament it has been.
Thank you for tuning in and make sure you check out en.as.com for more women's football coverage throughout the 23/24 season across the globe!
My vote for underrated player of the tournament:
OK, I know it's not a real award, but allow me to indulge.
Tere Abelleira filled a huge gap in the Spanish national team and has overcome the odds and the negative question marks around her talent level to become a key figure in Spain's World Cup win.
The Real Madrid midfielder worked superbly in the pivot role throughout the tournament, breaking up opponents' play as well as linking things preparing for the attack.
So, there we go, I just wanted a moment of recognition for Tere.
Player of the tournament: Aitana
"I'm in the sky right now, I have no words, I'm so proud.
Everyone has a strong mentality to win, we've been working a lot of years for this, and we have the trophy."
Tears from Alexia as she celebrates!
Look what it means, a huge hug between to Barça teammates, Alexia and Laia.
Spain are the latest name on the list of Women's World Cup winners, but which other nations are already there?
Will takes a look at the list of previous WWC winnersand guides your through each tournament since its inception.
AND IVANA ANDRÉS LIFTS THE 2023 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP FOR SPAIN
What a moment in football history!
AND HERE COME SPAIN!!!
Huge hugs all round from Spanish royalty (and Gianni Infantino) as Spain come to collect their gold medals!
Here come England to collect their silver medals
Faces are clearly glum as they walk past the golden trophy...
How much do Spain, the winning players and national associations get paid after the Women’s World Cup final between Spain and England?
Well, here's a handy breakdown of the prize money from Will.
Here's something to keep you going:
A delightfully friendly xG shot map of the game today. That pin point in red is Olga's historic strike.
GOLDEN BALL AWARD GOES TO...
GOLDEN GLOVE AWARD GOES TO...
FIFA BEST YOUNG PLAYER AWARD GOES TO...
Post game comments from Millie Bright:
It's really hard to take, but we gave everything. First half we weren't at our best but we came into it in the second half.
We've been 1-0 down before and we bounced back, that was the aim today. We are absolutely heartbroken, but we gave everything.
The girls are unbelievable. We never stopped believing in ourselves. I think in a couple of weeks we'll really appreciate this day.
Spain came back strong after the learning experience
The defeat was a huge blow, but it's clear that they learned a lot from the setback.
Real Madrid congratulate the side
With a huge photo of their very own, Spain's captain and winning goalscorer, Olga Carmona!
Spain breaking records!
Spain are the first team in Women's football history to be World Cup champions at Under-17, Under-20 and Senior level all at the same time.
They won the Under-20 World Cup in Costa Rica with Pedro López.
They won the Under-17 World Cup in India with Kenio Gonzalo.
What a game of football between the two best teams in the world.
Spain controlled the game in terms of possession and an Olga strike was the difference in a match that saw both sides go full throttle for over 100 minutes.
A missed Jenni Hermoso penalty seemed to give England a lifeline but La Roja defended superbly well all across the pitch, with the press working from top to bottom.
The midfield three - without Alexia - worked fantastically well for the entire game and they bossed the action in central and wide areas. Cata Coll in net was fantastic and commanded her area excellently well against a physical opponent. Olga and Ona in the full-back positions worked tirelessly up and down the wings to give Spain support in attack and defence, and their effort meant Irene and Laia had little to do at times.
Salma, my bet for young player of the tournament, played as an attacking pivot and marshalled Bright in a fantastic battle all game. Mariona and Alba prowled the wings and created danger that caused England plenty of problems. Overall, it was a fantastic team performance from La Roja, who fully deserve their win.
SPAIN HAVE WON THE WORLD CUP FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR HISTORY
SPAIN WIN THE WORLD CUP!!!!!
FULL TIME AND SPAIN ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!
EARPS IS IN THE BOX
England throw near the Spain goal...
Tere is down...
The time is up but no whistle just yet!
Thirty seconds to go...
We are into the final minute and Spain have a free kick in their own half.
Less than two minutes to go...
Jenni wins a free-kick in the middle third of the pitch and it looks like she can't take any more.
This is frantic beyond belief. Every crunch of every tackle can be heard by all 22 players.
IRENE COMES CLOSE FROM A HEADER
Salma's corner was superb!
Three to go...
Spain attacked well and Salma's effort came from a break led by Aitana, who tried to go it alone.
SALMA'S SHOT IS BLOCKED BY BRONZE
Spain seem to have forgotten how to take throw ins: page 54 of Football's Dark Arts.
Jenni intercepts well as England counter and Stanway can't be found in space in the middle of the pitch. A vital touch.
Spain win a free-kick in a dangerous area on the left side of the box as Alexia is brought down. I suspect they won't want to take it quickly...
The ball went through her legs inside the six yard box as the cross was fired in from the right!
WHAT A CHANCE FOR SALMA
The Book of the Dark Arts is about to be opened by Jorge Vilda and his side.
Ona gets through the defence and fires a low drive that is fantastically saved by Earps with her feet!
WHAT A HUGE SAVE FROM EARPS
Spain are trying to keep the ball away from England who are chasing...
13 added minutes!!!!
Salma finds Mariona who slips in Jenni. The Madrid-born forward smacks a shot towards goal which is blocked.
JENNI HERMOSO CLOSE FROM YARDS OUT
CHANCE FOR SPAIN
We're back underway and England are still pushing for a late goal. Bright went for glory and Cata Coll caught the looping shot that was blocked.
The clock is ticking down but I smell well over 10 minutes added time.
Beth England ON
Alexia is about to come on
Jenni Hermoso is down, and she's not the only one. The referee needs to get a grip of the game here before it gets nasty.
The game is heating up as the referee lets a series of fouls go for both sides.
England go immediately on the offensive as Bronze's first time effort towards the back post is caught by Cata Coll who anticipates the idea.
She's back on.
We're back underway and England are down to ten for the time being.
She looks OK to come on.
The player is getting bandaged up. Terry Butcher eat your heart out.
Greenwood is still down...
Salma is booked for a foul on Greenwood.
Spain attack but a sloppy pass from Oihane flies out and England catch their breath.
Less than ffiteen minutes to go.
Corner to England... Spain just about deal with it.
I'm not predicting who's winning this one...
Olga clears away a cross that is aimed towards Kelly at the far post before Cata Coll makes a fantastic save from Lauren James!
Well, the momentum is certainly with England here, who are going for Spain in all areas of the pitch.
Lucy Bronze hits from distance what might be the worst shot of the World Cup. It's no Marta Cox for Panama vs France.
Alexia is warming up for Spain.
Ivana Andrés is about to come on for Spain.
Laia Codina is down injured.
Wow, the atmosphere is electric inside the stadium as England are piling on top of La Roja!
Back underway and England attack immediately!
JENNIS WENT LOW INTO THE CORNER AND EARPS CAUGHT THE BALL
Here we go, Jenni steps up...
Lucy Bronze is opening the book of the Dark Arts, delaying the penalty kick.
Jenni to take...
WALSH HANDBALL GIVEN
SPAIN HAVE A PENALTY
Here comes the decision...
It was Keira Walsh who definitely made contact with her hand as Mariona tried to skip by her.
Tere, Aitana, Olga and Salma all have chances to shoot, and it's the Barça forward who gets one away in a sea of nerves. The shot flies wide of goal, but Spain want a handball.
A HUGE CHANCE FOR SPAIN
Spain break with Jenni, who finds Aitana right next to her. The Barça player takes a few touches to steady herself before firing a rifle shot that squeals over the bar!
WHAT A HIT
AITANA JUST OVER THE BAR
ESP 340-201 ENG
Alba Redondo OFF
My, oh my. Spain have just played 6 consecutive one-touch passes in a triangle the side of a coffee table as three England players chased like puppies. I made a noise I am not proud of.
A half chance for England, who are still well in the tie.
Walsh's ball to Kelly down the right is delightful, and James picks up the loose pieces. The diagonal cross is fired in towards the far post but Ona snatches it and clears away.
Spain have a corner after great work from Aitana down the right. It's played short to Jenni but England clear with Stanway.
Hemp booked for a foul on Laia.
A slow piece of buildup from England falls to Kelly on the right, who sends a wonderful cross into the box that is missed by Irene Paredes. Hemp almost gets a strong foot on the ball but her shot goes just wide.
BIG CHANCE FOR ENGLAND
Bright vs Salma is a fantastic battle. This time it's the Chelsea centre-back who wins the fight, as she doesn't let Salma get in behind following an ambitious Jenni pass from deep.
A series of Spanish corners taken by Tere are all defended well.
Mariona and Aitana link up wonderfully well inside the box. The winger works her way inside, back towards to the edge of the area, and her scooped shot is stopped by Earps.
BIG SAVE FROM EARPS
Spain are pushing forward as they tap the ball around the right wing area, looking for a way in against England's solid defensive line.
England are now pressing in a 4-4-2, with Kelly partnering Hemp as they go player-to-player against Spain's centre-backs.
England are back into a back four. Kelly is on the right of a front three.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY
Spain kick us off!
Kelly and James ON
Russo & Daly OFF
Spain have grown into the game and are finding a lot of space in both central and wide areas, with Jenni and Aitana, along with Tere, looking comfortable against Stanway, Toone and Walsh.
The goal came just after Hemp hit the bar with a ferocious strike from distance. Lucy Bronze picked up possession on the right and drive into the centre, where she was tackled.
Tere sprayed a beautiful ball to the left where Mariona was waiting to take advantage, laying off to Olga whose shot was on target and low, smashing past Earps in goal.
From then on, Spain dominated the ball and the space, with the possession triangles popping up in all areas and driving them towards goal. And then, right on half-time, it could have been two, as Salma hit the post after a cross from the right found her boot.
Spain are ahead at the break thanks to a fabulous strike from Olga Carmona.
SALMA HITS THE POST FROM INSIDE THE BOX!!!
SPAIN OFF THE POST
Spain break with Aitana who is all alone down the right, but she completely messes up the cross to Salma and England survive once again.
1 added minute.
Cata Coll and Ona manage to clear the ball between them as Hemp looks to get on the end of a cross from the right.
Bright gets away with another one against Salma, who nearly steals the ball from the centre-back as England play with fire around the defensive line.
Fantastic work from Laia Codina who covers Russo's run as the England forward tries to get on the end of Daly's searching ball through the lines.
Offside but it was a great break for England. Hemp missed the ball as it shot across goal, allowing Ona to clear, but the moved was ruled offside.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR ENGLAND
We haven't yet seen a response from England after the goal, which seems to have shaken them. They are keeping the ball in moments, just about, but only because Spain are allowing them to do so in deep areas.
Spain are controlling possession now and when they lose it, their press is asphyxiating England.
A deep free-kick is met by Irene Paredes whose header is cleared straight back to her, where she smacks a volley wide of the goal from close range.
A let off for the Lionesses who defended in a very unconvincing manner there...
CHANCE FOR SPAIN
Here is the obligatory moment of recognition for a wonderful Aitana dribble past an opponent. Delightful.
Small, green triangles etched into the minds of the Spanish squad are coming out to play now, as La Roja tip, tap, tip, tap their way through the thirds using their stunning positional and spacial awareness.
It's England's turn to attack and Hemp gets down the left wing well, shadowed by Ona. The defender chooses her moment to slide in and does so, giving England a throw.
What a gloriously executed move from Spain, who saw the space open up and took perfect advantage of the defensive error from the opposition.
Lucy Bronze went on a lung-busting run across the pitch, lost the ball in the middle third and Spain attacked with Olga, who dilled a shot into the far corner form the open space down the left!!
OLGA CARMONA STRIKES
Leeds United fan Rachel Daly does excellently well to slide in and take the ball from Ona down Spain's right. A wonderful tackle.
Spain work the ball well from back to front but Alba loses possession after she attempts a filtered pass through to Salma, who found space ahead of Bright in England's back line.
A protestor has just been rugby tackled by a security guard on the pitch, causing a slight delay.
Spain defend the free-kick well.
Hemp is sandwiched by both Ona Batlle and Teresa as the forward breaks away. The ball was running away from Hemp, so going down seemed to be the correct decision from a tactical point of view.
Tere cuts out Russo's cross and the ball is quickly played up the line towards Salma, who is fouled by Bright.
Over 20 minutes gone already...
A half chance for Spain as Mary Earps saves Salma's cross. Alba Redondo was sniffing around the near post.
Toone finds Hemp in the half space on the right and her weak shot is easily saved by the Barça keeper.
It was Mariona who got all mixed up under pressure and allowed England the easy chance.
CATA SAVES HEMP'S SHOT
Russo is played in behind Laia Codina but the flag is up.
And breathe... what a few seconds that was!
The ball came down the left and Salma was just a few yards from goal where she scuffed her shot towards the back post.
It fell to Alba but the Levante player's effort was saved brilliantly by Earps!
SALMA PARALLUELO FROM JUST YARDS OUT
A HUGE CHANCE MISSED
WHAT A CHANCE FOR SPAIN!!!!!
Spain get overpowered and pinned back into their box as England win every second ball as La Roja fail to clear.
Daly plays to Hemp on the edge of the box who swipes a beautiful shot past Cata in goal but her effort thunders off the bar!
HEMP HITS THE BAR
ENGLAND OFF THE BAR
CHANCE FOR ENGLAND
Aitana shoots from distance but her Barça teammate Walsh is fouled in the buildup.
Spain are coming on strongly over the past couple of minutes: it's Salma again who is forced onto her right foot and inside by Carter. The Barça player plays to Ona but again, the cross in is poor from Spain.
The cross from Salma wasn't great and it's blocked by Stanway.
However, that was delicious football from Spain, with Jenni, Olga and Salma linking up superbly on the left.
England with a half chance and now a corner after good work from Hemp to find Russo in that right half-space she loves so much. Unfortunately, the Arsenal forward can't get the ball out from under her feet and Spain scramble away.
Cata Coll collects the cross excellently well.
With ten minutes gone it's been an even start, with both teams seeing positive moments on the ball as the nerves settle. Hemp has had the only chance so far.
Hemp is almost played in behind Spain's back line but Laia Codina does well to cut the ball out.
Ona has been able to find around ten yards ahead of her every time she gets the ball, allowing the right-back to push on past half way. One to keep an eye on, perhaps.
Greenwood does well to cut out Ona Batlle's pass through the lines towards Salma. Spain are finding their groove.
Jenni opens wide to Aitana, who breaks through the middle. She plays wide to Alba Redondo, but the Levante player's cross is too heavy and flies over Salma's head, who was watching from inside the six-yard box.
The first shot of the game comes from Lauren Hemp, who has started well. The forward gets on the end of a bouncing ball in the box but her shot is weak towards Cata.
Spain get their first positive touches of the ball as Salma is played in behind the England defence by Aitana. The Barça winger works it to Ona who is supporting but the cross is too heavy into the box and England survive.
England have had the majority of the ball so far, as Cata gets her first touches from a long ball over the top.
A frantic start so far in this cauldron as England attack with Russo down the right. Hemp gets clattered by Irene in the opening seconds.
WORLD CUP FINAL UNDERWAY!
England kick us off from right to left!
A final reminder of the starting XIs:
Here is how the two teams line up for today's final:
Ona - Irene - Laia - Olga
Tere - Aitana - Jenni
Alba - Salma - Mariona
Carter - Bright - Greenwood
Bronze - Stanway - Walsh - Daly
Russo - Hemp
And here is the trophy they are playing for!
Just minutes to go!
National anthem time!
Spain's song was well hummed.
England's was well sung by all. Top job.
THE TEAMS ARE OUT
HERE WE GO!
Millie Bright and Olga Carmona lead their teams out of the tunnel to a HUGE noise!
In case you were wondering...
The singer at the Closing Ceremony was Tones and I, an Australian singer/songwriter best known for her breakout single "Dance Monkey".
By all account, the singer has a huge following, I'm just a little behind on my Australian pop music.
The players are in the tunnel!
We're almost ready to go!
Last year, after an early exit at Euro 2022, 15 players made themselves unavailable for selection, citing their 'emotional health' as a result of the methods used by manager, Jorge Vilda.
The story has dragged on until now, with only three of them returning after months of negotiations with the Spanish Football Federation.
The story has dominated the headlines regarding the women's team in Spain, with manager Jorge Vilda repeatedly being backed by RFEF president, Luis Rubiales.
Despite the turmoil off the pitch, the team has excelled on the field and look set to make history in the women's game.
Twenty minutes to go!
We now have a fantastic pre-game show on the pitch! It's around ten minutes to go before the two teams step out onto the pitch!
What would you say if you were in charge of the governing body of world football and had the chance to speak on the eve of the final of what has been a genuinely momentous and historic tournament for women and girls all across the world?
Well, someone's put a microphone next to Gianni Infantino's speak hole and he's managed to put together a sentence about the World Cup, and how it can affect women's sport in the future. It's about as tone-deaf as you'd expect.
“With men, with Fifa, you will find open doors. Just push the doors... convince us, men, what we have to do” ,” said Infantino.
“I say to all the women – and you know I have four daughters, so I have a few at home – I say to all the women that you have the power to change,” said Infantino. “Pick the right battles, pick the right fights. You have the power to change.”
Gianni really went with the 'how can I hate women? My mum's one' here. Another own goal.
Spain's dressing room is ready for action!
For the tie, La Roja, as the name suggests, will be in red shirts with blue socks and an unknown colour of socks.
England, as mentioned, will be in their light blue away strip.
A reminder of the starting XIs:
If you've just joined us, welcome!
Here is how the two teams line up for today's final:
Ona - Irene - Laia - Olga
Tere - Aitana - Jenni
Alba - Salma - Mariona
Carter - Bright - Greenwood
Bronze - Stanway - Walsh - Daly
Russo - Hemp
So, the countdown to kick-off for the final 90 minutes of this fantastic tournament is well underway and we've got just over half an hour to go.
But what happens if both teams are tied in a game that doesn't have a winner after 90 minutes?
Great question. Luckily, David has you covered with a fantastic explainer of what will happen should the clock tick on with the two sides level at the end.
Player to watch: Spain
Olga Carmona is my choice for Spain's player to watch today.
The Real Madrid left-back scored the stunning winner against Sweden in the previous round, but her influence in the team is a lot deeper than just sweet strikes from the edge of the box.
Olga's 1-vs-1 defending is superb, with her positioning and body profiling coming on leaps and bounds over the past year or so. She is a fast runner with an incredible work rate on and off the ball, and gets up the wing well to create overloads or fill the gap as Mariona tends to drift inside quite early on in Spain's attacking moves.
Curiously, Olga's breakout game, at least in my opinion, was against England in the Euros last summer.
She performed brilliantly in a game that many had deemed one level too far for her. But Olga shone and was one of Spain's standout players, and has since carried that form on until now, where she is now the undisputed left-back for both Spain and Real Madrid.
Where is the game being played?
Stadium Australia is about to host it's fifth game of the tournament.
The opening game of the World Cup - Australia vs Ireland - was held at the 83,000-seater capacity arena.
The ground cost well over half a billion Australia dollars to build and opened in 1999 and has been used for a variety of sporting events such as the 2000OlympicGames, various Rugby League and Rugby Union games, cricket events and seven games of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
Irene Paredes pre-game quotes:
It’s been a dream of mine for a long. long time. Throughout my career, I haven’t had any references. I’ve got here simply because playing football was what I liked doing. These are the games you want to play. We are in the final of a World Cup - which they say is the easy part because it is very difficult to get here. We have to enjoy it and play our game, which is what we like to do.
There aren’t any nerves at the moment, some will come in tomorrow. We have all of the things that have contributed to getting us to the final - training and being focused. And also enjoying ourselves. We are very clear that we have to focus on the game. The captaincy issue is now settled, I’m not a captain, there are three other captains.
We have evolved, we’re a mixture of older, experienced players and youth. We have confidence in ourselves. The other day I mentioned how important it is to play this game, and because of everything that it will generate elsewhere. Many of us have grown up thinking that playing football was not our place. Over the years we have been placed in those conditions. If it serves to let those people know that this game, football, is also ours, that means history will be made, and that would make us very happy. A change is taking place, people support us. This is history.
Spain has always been a football country, but we were made to feel that it was not our place. The generation before mine was very strong-willed, they were stubborn. That today that the lower categories are doing so well is no coincidence. You have to focus on football, what is generated around us remains. And if you win and if you don’t win, we don’t think about that. I’m just trying to control my nerves to play the best game possible tomorrow.
Spain and England went up against each other most recently in the quarter-finals of the 2022 UEFA Women’s Championship, where we know what happened.
But what about before then? Well, La Roja and The Lionesses have actually played each other on 16occasions, although this is the first time the two sides will meet on the world's biggest stage.
Who has the upper hand according to the history books? Well, Roddy's got it all covered for you.
Spain's players were treated to a surprise visit ahead of the game
The families of all the players were secretly invited to give the squad an unforgettable send-off ahead of their trip to Stadium Australia!
Check out the wonderful scenes in the team hotel before the journey to the location of the World Cup final.
ENGLAND STARTING XI
GK: Earps starts in goal
DEF: It's the usual suspects as Greenwood is partnered by Carter and Bright, who wears the captain's armband.
MID: Stanway and Walsh have Daly and Bronze on either side of them.
ATT: Toone retains her place behind the front two of Russo and Hemp.
England's PM sends support
The UK's PrimerMinister, RishiSunak has travelled all the way to Aus--- oh, no he hasn't.
He's sent a photoshopped letter on Twitter.
This weekend, like millions of others, I will be watching and cheering you on. But whatever the result, I want you to know that you have already secured a lasting legacy: that every girl in this country will have equal access to all school sport, including football.
I'll keep you all updated on whether we see any more ravaging support from the presumably very busy PM.
Tori Penso, 38, is the first ever US official to be appointed as the match referee for the final of either the women’s or men’s World Cup.
She has been a FIFA-listed referee since 2021, and has so far refereed four games at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, including England’s 3-1 semi-final win over Australia.
During the World Cup, she has averaged just one yellow card per game and has not yet had to send any players off.
The match ball is ready
You may notice a slight change in the design of the ball compared to other matches at the World Cup, and that's because Adidas have indeed given us a new ball, just for the semi-finals, third-place playoff (which Sweden won 2-0 against Australia yesterday) and today's final.
CalledFinal Oceaunz, the ball has now been tinted with yellow, red and gold.
Adidas say the change is colour scheme reflects “the beauty of Australia’s and New Zealand’s unique terrain” as well as the trophy of the Women’s World Cup.
Adidas’ full description of the ball is as follows:
Made for landmark moments at the highest level. The official match football used during the semi-finals, third-place playoff and final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, the adidas Final Oceaunz Pro Ball flashes earthy tones and shimmering shades of yellow and gold that reflect the beauty of Australia’s and New Zealand’s unique terrain — and the FIFA trophy. Its seamless construction ensures a predictable flight and bounce. That Quality Pro stamp is FIFA’s highest rating.
If you want even more information than that, erm, unique statement from Adidas, check out the full write up.
The atmosphere is building ahead of kick-off!
England fans are certainly making their voices heard!
The Lionesses have played their last couple of games at Stadium Australia, beating both Colombia and Australia there before today's tie. This means that the England fans who were already there have the opportunity to extend their holiday a little longer and make their voices heard for one last time!
Spain, on the other hand, have played all of their games up until now in New Zealand and travelled to the Australian city for the first time just a few days ago.
And the answer is...
Did you get the quiz question correct?
The answer was FCBARCELONA, with 11 players represented between the two squads in the final!
Cata Coll, Ona, Irene, Laia, Aitana, Alexia, María Pérez, Salma and Mariona for Spain with Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh playing for England!
Lauren James returns to England's squad
The England forward had arguably been the star of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand ahead of the round of 16 tie against Nigeria, where she was sent off after a VAR review caught her stomping on Michelle Alozie's back after a challenge.
James had an immediate 1-game ban upgraded to a 2-game ban after the red was reviewed, so she missed out on England's victory in the quarter-final against Colombia, as well as the 3-1 win over hosts Australia in the previous round.
Now, she is back, but it remains to be seen whether or not Sarina Wiegman will include her in England's XI for the game, or whether she will prefer to go with the team that has made it through the tough recent fixtures.
A fantastic message from England ahead of the game
The Lionesses have tweeted recognising the deep-rooted history of the land where the stadium is situated, saying that they "acknowledge the Wangal as the first Custodians of the land, air and water where Stadium Australia is situated today, and we pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging."
What a lovely gesture.
Spain's drama saga
It’s quite difficult to know where to begin with the Spanish story, as there is genuinely enough to bring out a version of their last 12 months in hardback.
I suppose it begins when they were knocked out of Euro 2022.
Shortly after the tournament, 15 players wrote to the Spanish Federation asking not to be selected for the squad, citing emotional and mental health reasons. The man qualm was the way the manager, Jorge Vilda, ran the show, with the Federation (RFEF) also doing little to provide the world-class stars with top conditions to succeed. The standoff went on for months, with 15 of the world’s best players declaring themselves unavailable for a call-up.
During that time, with a heavily changed squad and Vilda still at the helm, Spain had some fantasticwins against the likes of Norway and the USWNT.
In the lead up to the World Cup, it was revealed that the RFEF had finally made moves for the players to come back and negotiate on a 1-to-1 basis in order to improve and best prepare for the showpiece event.
Although the result was not ideal and players such as Patri Guijarro (the MVP of this year's Women's Champions League final) and Mapi León didn't return, some changes were made and by the end, a few player returned to the squad, such as Aitana, Mariona and Ona Batlle.
Sarina Wiegman pre-match quotes:
It’s incredible what happens [in the stadiums]. We’ve felt the support here, but also from the other side of the world, in the UK. That’s something that you dream of. And we just hope that we play our best game ever tomorrow and that everyone who is watching, in the stadium, in the UK but also everywhere else, enjoys it.
I feel privileged. I’m very happy in the place where I am right now. There’s a lot of support from the FA, from the board, and I have a very good team of staff. We have everything we need to perform at the highest level. We have a very good team, with very good players so it’s a pleasure to work with these incredible people.
I think the Spanish team is in a good place and they’ve had a very good tournament so far. And as always, they want to play a possession game and they’re very dynamic and want to go forward all the time and also in defence, they want to go forward. That’s not very different from when I’ve seen them before - so in that way, they haven’t changed that much. I think at moments, they will challenge us but we will challenge them too.
We’ve watched the game [Euro 2022 vs Spain] back, but not over and over. We move on. Tomorrow, we’re ready - tactically, technically... of course we have watched Spain, we have analysed them with our analytical team. And I think we’re ready.
When England get to a major final, the PrinceofWales, especially the President of the FA, must surely be there, right?
Wrong. He's not going.
To be fair, instead of making the journey, he did send out a congratulatory tweet after England beat Australian and has since posted an Instagram video in which he apologises for not being able to attend.
I will allow the reader to draw their own conclusions after reading Roddy's piece on the matter.
England to play in blue
The Lionesses will be taking on the red of Spain in their beautiful blue away strip. This is the kit they wore in the previous round against Australia, who they beat 3-1 with goals from Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp and Ella Toone.
SPAIN STARTING XI REVEALED
Here is how La Roja will line up against England in the World Cup final!
GK: Cata Coll retains her place despite an injury scare
DEF: It's Jorge Vilda's preferred defence of Ona, Irene, LaiaandOlga
MID: Alexia is benched as Jenni starts alongside Aitana and Tere
ATT: The big news is that Salma startswith Mariona and Alba Redondo up front!
We're going to have a new name on the trophy regardless of who wins it, and here is the final squad photo before the game in Sydney.
So here's your quiz question: which club team has the most representation in the World Cup final between the two squads of Spain and England?
*Hint: there are 11 players!
Want to watch the game on TV/online as well as follow the AS USA coverage with myself?
Well, you're in luck.
Here's all the information you need to find a way to get the action on your screen as ‘La Roja’ take on the Lionesses in the 2023 WWC final at the Accor Stadium, Sydney.
England vs Spain: the last time they played
The last time England and Spain faced each other was during the quarter finals of Euro 2022 in England.
The Lionesseses came back to beat Spain 2-1 after extra-time thanks to late goals from Toone and Stanway, as well as a few Spanish mistakes in the back line.
Sarina Weigman and England will be looking to use that win as fuel to get them over the line today, although Spain have learnt a lot from that defeat that ultimately changed so much within women’s football.
The loss and early exit sparked the rumblings of what we saw develop over the following months, with the players’ disappointment at the way things worked hitting a new low in the aftermath.
Spain: road to the final
Spain’s World Cup campaign has been one to remember for reasons that are not just to do with football, but we’ll get to that later. Despite the off-field controversy, La Roja have been able to put pretty much everyone to the sword without much of a problem.
The group stage wins against Costa Rica (3-0) and Zambia (5-0) settled the nerves and got them points on the board but they did not prepare Vilda and co. for what was a full-scale meltdown against Japan in the final game. That wobble, a heavy 4-0 defeat, sent shockwaves through the continent of Oceania and highlighted a few potential weaknesses to the side.
Spain made it through the group and onto the next round against Norway, who they swept aside 5-1 before coming up againstThe Netherlands in the quarter finals.
The Oranje were a tough opponent who defended well but when Spain finally broke the deadlock towards the end of the game with a Mariona penalty, it looked like the 90-minute long onslaught from the team in red was about to be repaid in kind.
But a last-gasp, top corner wonder strike from a centre-back from the edge of the box sent the blue shirts of the Netherlands into delirium, and they had made it to extra-time.
Enter: Salma. The Barça winger has been the young player of the tournament for me, and her amazing ability to impact games from the bench has been utilised to full effect by Jorge Vilda. Salma stepped out onto the pitch and scored a late strike to give Spain a ticket to the next round.
They played Sweden in New Zealand and the game was quite the same as before, with Spain dominating possession and having most of the chances without putting the ball in the back of the net.
Salma broke the deadlock with less than ten minutes to go before Sweden went up the other end and scored in the dying seconds. It looked like another game that was destined for extra-time until Real Madrid left-back, Olga Carmona, hit a rocket of a shot that thundered against the crossbar and past Musovic in the Swedish goal.
And now, here they are, in the final of the World Cup.
My, oh my, here we are at last.
Hello and welcome to the ASUSA live coverage of the Women’s World Cup Final 2023.
It’s Joe here today and I’ve got the pleasure of providing you with the latest updates and minute-by-minute commentary of every kick, shot and tackle as Spain and England look to become champions of the world.
Kick-off is at 6am ET/3am PT.