Olga Carmona’s Goal Seals Spain’s 1-0 Win in WWC Final

Photo of Olga Carmona

Spain clinched their first-ever Women’s World Cup victory as Olga Carmona’s goal in the first half ensured their win. In the second half, Mary Earps saved a penalty from Jennifer Hermoso, and an earlier shot from Lauren Hemp struck the crossbar during the opening period. At the brink of the match’s conclusion, England faced loss as Olga Carmona’s remarkable goal secured a 1-0 win for Spain, propelling them to secure their first-ever Women’s World Cup title.

The Lionesses were unable to recreate their triumph from the prior summer’s Euros, becoming architects of their own defeat after a lackluster first half.

Spain not only commanded possession but also dictated the course of the entire match, capitalizing on England’s costly errors. A critical juncture emerged when Lucy Bronze’s mishap in midfield created the opportunity for Carmona to release an extraordinary shot into the goal in the 29th minute.

In her fourth successive major tournament final appearance, Sarina Wiegman made a bold halftime decision, swapping Alessia Russo and Rachel Daly for Lauren James and Chloe Kelly, and shifting the formation to 4-3-3.

The Lionesses showed a notably improved performance, but as has been a trend in the World Cup, it was Mary Earps’ extraordinary saves that kept England competitive. Her remarkable accomplishment encompassed a skillful block of a Jennifer Hermoso penalty, granted following a six-minute VAR assessment for a potential Keira Walsh handball.

Both teams sought to score another goal, but ultimately, Spain seized their pivotal chance, while for England, it proved to be a distance they couldn’t bridge.

The quest for a World Cup title still eludes England and Wiegman, whereas Spain, despite their pre-tournament difficulties, have emerged as champions on the grandest stage.

After the game, Millie Bright, the captain of the Lionesses, spoke to BBC Sport, expressing, “Coming to terms with this is incredibly challenging. We invested our utmost effort, without a doubt. Although our performance in the first half wasn’t our finest, our unwavering commitment and determination were clear. We had chances today – hitting the crossbar – but they effectively capitalized on their opportunity.”

“We held a considerable amount of self-assurance. There have been instances when we’ve been behind by 1-0 in matches, yet we’ve always managed to bounce back; surrendering is never an option. It’s certainly hard to come to terms with, but that’s how football goes – it has left us utterly devastated.

“The team’s tenacity is truly extraordinary. When this tournament began, we were met with skepticism from many, and a few lost their faith along the journey, but our self-belief never wavered. Even today, we exuded confidence. We’ve reached a World Cup final, and in a few weeks, when we look back, we’ll truly comprehend the importance of this day.”

How England’s loss unfolded during the World Cup final

The game started with fervor at Stadium Australia, and chances on both sides injected excitement into the match. In the 16th minute, Lauren Hemp’s strike met the top of the crossbar, followed by an excellent save by Earps to deny Alba Redondo.

Nonetheless, Bronze, having faced defeat in the prior two World Cup semi-finals, made a costly mistake that provided Spain the advantage. A midfield error by Bronze enabled Teresa Abelleira to locate Mariona Caldentey, who then connected with captain Carmona. Carmona delivered an exceptional shot beyond Earps, marking her second consecutive goal in the World Cup.

England required a period to gather themselves in response to Spain’s dominance, but their first attempt at a counterattack following their setback displayed potential. Hemp and Alessia Russo worked together on the right flank, although Russo’s delivery to Toone narrowly missed the midfielder, and the offside decision was correctly given.

In the closing moments of the half, Spain found an opening to increase their advantage, presenting England with an even more daunting challenge. However, a low shot from 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo hit the post’s lower part before going out of bounds.

Wiegman’s audacious halftime adjustments came close to producing outcomes as well. Kelly showcased her worth with a superbly crafted cross into the penalty area that eluded Irene Parades, yet Hemp couldn’t quite redirect it on target. Caldentey also evoked an impressive save from Earps, while Aitana Bonmati’s attempt lofted just slightly above the crossbar.

A prolonged sequence leading to a penalty opportunity for Spain was initiated in the 62nd minute, accompanied by a vehement plea for a handball. The ball brushed against Walsh’s hand from close quarters as Caldentey aimed to maneuver around the English midfielder, triggering a VAR review in conjunction with the referee consulting the monitor on the field.

The penalty was authorized in the 68th minute, but an additional 90 seconds elapsed before Hermoso could take the shot due to England’s objection about the ball’s incorrect positioning on the spot. When she eventually took the shot, Earps lunged to her left to thwart the effort, once again coming to the Lionesses’ rescue.

The concluding moments were filled with activity, although there were inquiries about a potential second booking for Paralluelo, who escaped punishment after kicking the ball away, despite previously receiving a yellow card for a foul on Alex Greenwood.

In the final analysis, despite an improved performance in the second half, England couldn’t force overtime, while Spain rejoiced in securing their first-ever World Cup championship.


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