CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE in SYDNEY —- Spain are Women’s World Cup winners for the first time. They made history with a deserved 1-0 victory over European champions England in Sydney and even enjoyed the luxury of missing a second-half penalty.

Spain’s success vindicated the national federation’s decision last year to stand by coach Jorge Vilda in the face of a revolt by 15 senior players. They are also world champions at under-17 and under-20 levels while Barcelona are holders of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

England, who had come into the tournament missing three key players through injury, were out-thought and outplayed. Defeat was a second successive final failure for their Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman who led Netherlands to their 1999 defeat by United States.

Celebration time for first-time finalists Spain

Captain Olga Carmona, a Real Madrid 23-year-old amid a Barcelona-dominated squad, struck the decisive goal in the 29th minute, capitalising after England’s Lucy Bronze was caught in possession and out of position.

After the match, however, Carmona was told that her father had died back in Spain on Friday. Family members who had flown out for the final, decided not to tell her until after the final.

Spain were awarded a penalty shortly after the hour mark for handball by midfielder Keira Walsh only to see England keeper Mary Earps save Jennifer Hermoso’s spot kick.

Consolation for Earps was to be awarded the prize as best goalkeeper at the finals. Spain’s Aitana Bonmati was best player with 19-year-old team-mate Salma Paralluelo the best young player.

Winners off the pitch were cohosts Australia and New Zealand where the finals attracted crowds of just below two million with 75,784 attending the final.


Spanish coach Vilda said: “I’ve always said that if all the suffering was necessary to become world champions, it would be worth it. It’s been difficult at a personal level in management but at a sporting level we’ve achieved results that we’ve never achieved before.

“I am very happy that we are champions of the world.”

Playmaker Aitana Bonmati said: “I’m up in the air right now. It is unbelievable. I’m so proud because we did a great tournament. We suffered but also we enjoy it and we deserve it.

“Everyone knew the goal at the beginning of the preparation of the tournament. Everyone is competitive with a strong mentality to win. We have been working a lot of years for this moment.”

Losing coach Wiegman said: “I think everyone has watched an incredible game, a very open game with both teams wanting to play football. Two very different halves for us, the first half we really struggled to have pressure on the ball, so we changed in the second back to 4-3-3 which gave us momentum.

“I thought we got momentum, then came the penalty and injury to Alex Greenwood and we lost it.

“I thought that Spain were a little bit better than us. Of course it feels really bad now. Very, very disappointed. When you get to the final you want to win it but in sport you can also lose.

“We showed how we want to play as a team and we can feel very proud of ourselves – although it doesn’t feel that way right now.”

The awards

Golden Boot: Hinata Miyazawa (Jpn)- 5 goals, 1 assist
-Silver Boot: Kadidatou Diani (Fra) – 4 goals, 1 assist
-Bronze Boot: Alexandra Popp (Ger) – 4 goals
Golden Ball (best player): Aitana Bonmati (Spa)
-Silver Ball: Jennifer Hermoso (Spa)
-Bronze Ball: Amanda Ilestedt (Swe)
Fair Play Award: Japan
Best Young Player: Salma Paralluelo (Spa)
Golden Glove (best goalkeeper) : Mary Earps (Eng)

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Gp A: New Zealand 1, Norway 0; Philippines 0, Switzerland 2 – New Zealand 0, Philippines 1; Switzerland 0, Norway 0 – Norway 6, Philippines 0; Switzerland 0, New Zealand 0. Final points: Switzerland 5, Norway 4, New Zealand 4, Philippines 3.

Gp B: Australia 1, Rep. Ireland 0; Nigeria 0, Canada 0 – Gp B: Canada 2, Rep. Ireland 1; Australia 2, Nigeria 3. – Canada 0, Australia 4; Rep. Ireland 0, Nigeria 0. Final points: Australia 6, Nigeria 5, Canada 4, Rep. Ireland 1.

Gp C: Spain 3, Costa Rica 0; Zambia 0, Japan 5 – Japan 2, Costa Rica 0; Spain 5, Zambia 0 – Costa Rica 1, Zambia 3; Japan 4, Spain 0. Final points: Japan 9, Spain 6, Zambia 3, Costa Rica 0.

Gp D: England 1, Haiti 0; Denmark 1, China 0 – England 1, Denmark 0; China 1, Haiti 0 – China 1, England 6; Haiti 0, Denmark 2. Final points: England 9, Denmark 6, China 3, Haiti 0.

Gp E: United States 3, Vietnam 0; Netherlands 1, Portugal 0 – US 1, Netherlands 1; Portugal 2, Vietnam 0 – Portugal 0, US 0; Vietnam 0, Netherlands 7. Final points: Netherlands 7, US 5, Portugal 4, Vietnam 0.

Gp F: France 0, Jamaica 0; Brazil 4, Panama 0 – France 2, Brazil 1; Panama 0, Jamaica 1 – Jamaica 0, Brazil 0; Panama 3, France 6. Final points: France 7, Jamaica 5, Brazil 4, Panama 0.

Gp G: Sweden 2, S Africa 1; Italy 1, Argentina 0 — Argentina 2, S Africa 2; Sweden 5, Italy 0 – Argentina 0, Sweden 2; South Africa 3, Italy 2. Final points: Sweden 9, South Africa 4, Italy 3, Argentina 1.

Gp H: Germany 6, Morocco 0; Colombia 2, S Korea 0 – S Korea 0, Morocco 1; Germany 1, Colombia 2 – S Korea 1, Germany 1; Morocco 1, Colombia 0. Final points: Colombia 6, Morocco 6, Germany 4, South Korea 1.

Round of 16: Switzerland 1, Spain 5; Japan 3, Norway 1; Netherlands 2, South Africa 0; Sweden 0, United States 0 (5-4 on pens, aet); England o, Nigeria 0 (England 4-2 on pens, aet); Australia 2, Denmark 0; Colombia 1, Jamaica 0; France 4, Morocco 0.

Quarter-finals: Spain 2, Netherlands 1; Japan 1, Sweden 2; Australia 0, France 0 (Australia 7-6 pens, aet); England 2, Colombia 1.

Semi-finals: Spain 2, Sweden 1; Australia 1, England 3.

Third place playoff: Sweden 2, Australia 0.

Final: Spain 1, England 0.