Spain won the Women’s World Cup for the first time in their history with skipper Olga Carmona sweeping in the only goal for a deserved 1-0 victory over England in Sunday’s final.
The victory made La Roja the first team to hold the under-17, under-20 and senior world titles at the same time. Spain is the fifth winner in nine editions of the Women’s World Cup and joins Germany as the only two nations to win both the men’s and women’s titles.
At the final whistle the Spanish players piled on each other in front of their goal. They were still dancing on the field until the trophy presentations, where they kissed the trophy and raised their arms in triumph as golden glitter fell from above.
Spain’s triumph is vindication for Jorge Vilda and the Spanish football federation, who stuck with the coach even after 15 players last year said they no longer wanted to represent their country under him.
Spain are the fifth team to lift the World Cup since the tournament began in 1991, joining outgoing champions the US, Germany, Norway and Japan.
In front of Spain’s Queen Letizia, defender Carmona scored what turned out to be the winner, rampaging from left-back to thrash the ball in low and hard on 29 minutes.
Carmona’s left-foot shot in the 29th minute went into the far corner of the net and just out of reach of diving England goalkeeper Mary Earps.
In celebration, she raised her jersey to reveal the word “Merchi” scrawled in ink on her undershirt, an apparent nod to her former school.
The win gave the Spanish women their first major international trophy and avenged a quarterfinal loss to eventual champion England in the European championship last year.
England’s hopes of bringing World Cup back dashed
England’s Lionesses went into the final unbeaten and aiming to bring a World Cup back to England for the first time since 1966.
Goalkeeper Earps made a stunning save to Jenni Hermoso’s penalty kick in the 70th after Keira Walsh was penalised for a hand ball on a VAR review.
England’s best chance came from Lauren Hemp, who rattled the crossbar with a powerful strike. A minute later, Salma Paralluelo raced to the goal but couldn’t get a clean shot and Earps stopped Alba Redondo’s attempt in the scramble in front of the net.
Vilda started 19-year-old Paralluelo, who scored the breakthrough goal for Spain against Sweden, and the game-winner in extra time over the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.
Paralluelo’s nearly scored seconds from half time but her shot hit the post. She was handed a yellow card in the 78th minute for a foul on Alex Greenwood, who had a cut above her eye.
Hemp had another chance in the 54th but sent it wide. A minute later she was handed a yellow card for a foul on Laia Codina.
Spain had a chance to double the lead in the 68th after a video review awarded a penalty after Keira Walsh’s handball. But Earps kept England in the game, as she did with a succession of saves late.
Coach Jorge Vilda had a challenge in working around two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who was still working her way back from a torn ACL last year. For the final, Putellas was on the bench at the start.
Putellas went into the game with 15 seconds left in regulation, but there were 13 minutes of stoppage time.
The 75,784 fans at the final at Stadium Australia on Sunday included tennis great Billie Jean King.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)