The 2023 Women’s World Cup came to an end on August 20 with a clash of European titans: Spain vs. England. The lone goal of the match by Spain captain Olga Carmona in the 29th minute was the difference maker, making Spain the world champions by a score of 1-0.
While this scoreline may imply the match was boring, this could not be less true. A frantic pace was established from kickoff, with both sides looking incredibly open. The action was truly box to box.
The momentum was briefly halted by a pitch invader in the 24th minute, but play quickly resumed after they were tackled by security. The tension was mounting as the match tempo ramped up; it seemed anyone could score at any time.
Carmona was the beneficiary of this high tempo first half. England defender Lucy Bronze was caught playing out of position. With one less defender in the box, a threaded pass to an open Carmona meant that she was easily able to get a shot past a helpless Mary Earps in the 29th minute.
England had plenty of chances before (and even after) this point, but they just could not finish them. This worrisome trend, plus the issues in the easily exploited midfield, led England Head Coach Sarina Wiegman to substitute forward Alessia Russo and midfielder Rachel Daly out at halftime. They were replaced by forwards Lauren James and Chloe Kelly.
The next major moment was in the 66th minute. Spain forward Mariona Caldentey made her way into the box. As she tried to settle the ball, it hit the hand of England midfielder Keira Walsh. After a brief VAR consultation, referee Tori Penso declared a penalty for Spain.
Midfielder Jennifer Hermoso stepped up to the spot, but her kick was saved by Earps.
The save gave England a brief momentum shift (and boost in morale), but it was short-lived. Spain continued to get the better of them, missing by inches.
The rest of the game was dominated by Spain. England kept weathering run after run after run, but it was too late. After an eye-popping thirteen minutes of extra time, Penso blew her whistle. It was over. Spain had won their first ever World Cup.
In the post match hubbub, FIFA announced the awards for the tournament. Here's the complete list of award winners:
Fair Play Award: Japan
FIFA Young Player of the Year: Salma Paralluelo, Spain
Golden Glove: Mary Earps, England
Golden Boot: Hinata Miyazawa, Japan (five goals, one assist)
Silver Boot: Kadidatou Diani, France (four goals, one assist)
Bronze Boot: Alexandra Popp, Germany (four goals)
Golden Ball: Aitana Bonmati, Spain
Silver Ball: Jennifer Hermoso, Spain
Bronze Ball: Amanda Ilestedt, Sweden