By a staff reporter
Sydney – Spain have emerged triumphant in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, clinching their inaugural title. Spain defeated European champions England 1-0 in a thrilling final to lift their first-ever Women’s World Cup title. Skipper Olga scored the decisive goal of the match, securing a historic win on the global stage.
The match was very evenly poised as many chances fell both sides’ way. Lauren Hemp drilled a left-footed strike towards the bottom-right corner in the fifth minute off a long throw-in from Lucy Bronze which was saved easily by Spanish goalkeeper Catalina Coll.
Hemp came close again in the 16th minute. Her curled attempt smashed the frame of the goal off a cut-back from Rachel Daly. Just a minute later, Spain went on a counter-attack and a chance fell for Paralluelo off a cross from Caldentey from the left flank but she couldn’t make the desired contact and hit the ball straight at English custodial Mary Earps.
Spain drew first blood in the 29th minute of the match as La Roja took the lead with a goal from their skipper, Olga. The left-back surged forward, executing a marauding overlapping run, receiving a pinpoint pass from Mariona Caldentey, and delicately finishing the pass from a tight angle, granting her team the lead.
Irene Paredes’ shot in the 37th minute went wide and England survived another scare. Six minutes later. Spain came close to doubling the lead again in the first-half stoppage time- the chance fell for Paralluelo again. Ona Batlle’s cross from the right towards the penalty spot was met by Paralluelo but her shot agonizingly struck the outside of the post.
Caldentey’s shot in the 50th minute, after dancing around a few tackles, was saved excellently by Earps. Four minutes later, a cross from Chloe Kelly evaded everyone and reached Hemp, whose shot went wide of the post.
Spain were awarded a penalty in the 69th minute of the match after Keira Walsh handled the ball inside the box. But Jenni Hermoso’s spot kick was saved by Earps to keep the scoreline at 1-0.
Hermoso’s shot was saved by a last-ditch tackle from Jessica Carter in the last minute of regulation time. In the second minute of stoppage time, Spanish right-back Batlle raced towards the right of the goal, but her shot towards the near post was deflected off Carter and was eventually saved by Earps.
Spain are only the fifth team to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup. USA, Germany, Norway and Japan are the only other teams to have won the tournament. Spain are also only the second team to win both men’s and women’s World Cups after Germany.