History has been made. Against the odds and amid a backdrop of turmoil, Spain reached the pinnacle in Sydney on Sunday, beating England 1-0 to win the Women’s World Cup for the first time.
That Spain had progressed to the final, given the tumultuous year the national team had experienced, was remarkable. That La Roja triumphed against the reigning European champion and pre-match favorite in spite of the disputes and divisions which has clouded the national team throughout the tournament makes this achievement extraordinary.
Olga Carmona’s wonderful 29th-minute strike proved to be the winner. Spain could even afford to miss a second-half penalty as La Roja became only the second country, after Germany, to win both the men’s and women’s World Cups.
As Spain’s players celebrated by forming a joyful heap of red on the Stadium Australia pitch, many of England’s players were in tears as hopes of becoming the country’s first senior soccer world champion since 1966 were ended by a brilliant Spain.
For possession and attempts on goal, there was only one team in it – Spain outplayed England. But there is some solace for England which, like Spain, was competing in a Women’s World Cup final for the first time, because the team has progressed further than ever before in this competition. Even in defeat, the Lionesses had made history.
Prince William paid tribute to the “spirit” of the Lionesses, posting on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Although it’s the result none of us wanted, Lionesses you have done yourselves and this nation proud.”
But it is Spain which celebrates and it is Spain’s future which shines the brightest, especially if off-pitch issues can be resolved, because now, incredibly, the Iberian nation is a Women’s World Cup winner at Under-17, Under-20 and senior level.
Some of the country’s most famous faces reveled in the team’s success. Tennis star Rafael Nadal, the 22-time grand slam winner and arguably Spain’s greatest athlete, posted an Instagram story which said: “Let’s goooooo!!!! Congratulations, WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!!”