[Sports] Spain wins Women’s World Cup for the first time, deservedly beating England in Sydney

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.

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.”

Ad Feedback

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!!!!”

Spain is the reigning Women's World Cup winner at Under-17, Under-20 and senior level.

Spain is the reigning Women’s World Cup winner at Under-17, Under-20 and senior level.Amanda Perobelli/Reuters

Division and uncertainty

But as fireworks lit up the night sky and a wave of golden ticker-tape showered the victorious players during the trophy presentation, thoughts wandered to those Spanish players who had missed an opportunity to win the sport’s biggest prize because of the dispute between the players, the coaching staff and the country’s soccer federation.

Last September, 15 Spanish players declared themselves unavailable for selection, saying they were unhappy with the training methods of head coach Jorge Vilda, who had described the situation at the time as a “world embarrassment.”

When asked in the build-up to the final what it was like to face a dressing room that questioned the worth of the coach and staff, Vilda told the Spanish newspaper Marca that there was no choice but to “focus” on work.

Only three of those 15 players who had written letters to the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) last year, saying the “situation” within the national team was affecting their “emotional state” and health, were selected for the World Cup squad.

Spain's Eva Navarro celebrates.

Spain’s Eva Navarro celebrates.Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

One was Aitana Bonmati, the midfielder who excelled against England and who won the Golden Ball, given to the best player of the tournament. The Barcelona player was peerless and epitomized Spain’s supremacy and also the talent at the country’s disposal.

Spain has become a world champion without some of its best players, talents who are the finest in the world in their respective positions. It says much for the pool of talent at Spain’s disposal that it was able to succeed in such circumstances.

Yet although this could be a transformative win for women’s soccer in the country – in its three previous World Cup tournaments, Spain had never progressed beyond the round of 16 – it is perhaps not a unifying one.

The country is now the best in the world, but the international futures of those exiled players remain unclear. With victory, the questions surrounding the national set-up, of whether or how the dispute can be resolved, do not disappear.

The best team wins

This was a final between two of the best teams in the tournament, which made for an intriguing and entertaining encounter.

As expected, Spain monopolized the ball – enjoying over 50% of possession in the first half – and La Roja’s technical superiority allowed them to pass with finesse, their one-touch football putting the Lionesses on their heels.

Salma Paralluelo, the 19-year-old who came off the bench to play an instrumental role in the semifinal win against Sweden, started the match and justified her selection as she proved to be an ever-present danger in attack.

The teenager, who was named the tournament’s best young player, is now the first player to win Women’s World Cups at Under-17, Under-20 and senior level and could certainly become one of the game’s greats.

Even with two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas on the substitutes’ bench – the Barcelona star has been far from her best this tournament as she continues to find form after a serious knee injury – Spain was superior.

Although it was England which had the first real chance to break the deadlock, Lauren Hemp hitting the crossbar with a curling shot from just inside the edge of the box in the 15th minute.

Almost immediately afterwards, a fine save from England goalkeeper Mary Earps kept out Alba Redondo’s effort but, in truth, the Spaniard should have done better from close range.

Then, in the 29th minute came the opening goal, Carmona lazering her shot into the bottom-right corner after beautiful build-up play down Spain’s left flank. Lucy Bronze’s charge upfield had left a gaping hole in England’s defense and Spain capitalized.

Dancers take the field during the opening ceremony.
Children hold flags during the opening ceremony.
Spanish players celebrate after winning the Women's World Cup final on Sunday, August 20.
Spain's Eva Navarro celebrates with the Women's World Cup trophy.

Spain’s Eva Navarro celebrates with the Women’s World Cup trophy.Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Spanish players celebrate with the trophy during the post-match award ceremony.
Players from Spain and England react after the final whistle.
Fans cheer for Spain during a broadcast of match in Barcelona.
England captain Millie Bright looks dejected after the match. "We gave everything," she said. "First half we weren't at our best but second half we bounced back. ... We just didn't have that final edge today."
Players embrace at the end of the match.
Spanish coach Jorge Vilda reacts as England's Lucy Bronze, left, and Spain's Mariona Caldentey compete for the ball in the second half of the final.
English goalkeeper Mary Earps saves a Jennifer Hermoso penalty during the second half.
Members of the 1972 England team react while watching a live broadcast together in London.
Spain's Salma Paralluelo (No. 18) received a yellow card from referee Tori Penso after England's Alex Greenwood was hurt on a play in the second half.
Spanish fans celebrate as the teams leave the field at halftime.
Spain's Olga Carmona celebrates after she scored with a left-footed shot in the 29th minute.
A shot from England's Lauren Hemp hits the crossbar in the first half.
Paralluelo, left, competes for the ball with Greenwood.
England fans cheer on the Lionesses in Sydney.
Earps makes a save in the first half.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King walks onto the pitch ahead of the final.
Players stand for the national anthems before the final.
Paralluelo huddles with teammates before the match.
A closing ceremony took place before the final.
Swedish players celebrate after defeating Australia 2-0 in the <a href=

Australia fans in Brisbane show their support for their team following the loss to Sweden.
Sweden's Fridolina Rolfo celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's first goal against Australia.
Sweden's Amanda Ilestedt and Australia's Hayley Raso compete for the ball.
Sweden fans show support outside the stadium before the third-place playoff match.
Rolfo converts a penalty to give Sweden a 1-0 lead over Australia.
England players celebrate after their <a href=

Australian star Sam Kerr did everything she could to carry the Matildas, but it wasn't enough as her team fell 3-1 to England in the semifinals.
Australia fans react in the stadium as their team falls behind late in the semifinal.
England's Alessia Russo celebrates scoring the Lionesses' third goal to seal the victory against Australia.
English goalkeeper Mary Earps dives in vain to stop Kerr's rocket from distance — arguably the goal of the tournament.
English midfielder Ella Toone scores the opener against Australia.
English defender Alex Greenwood, left, battles Kerr for the ball.
Salma Paralluelo, left, celebrates with teammates after <a href=

Swedish players are dejected following the 2-1 loss to Spain.
Sweden's Fridolina Rolfo jumps for a header with Spain's Alexia Putellas.
Spain fans watch the semifinal inside Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.
A performer dances before the semifinal between Spain and Sweden.
Alessia Russo, bottom, celebrates after scoring England's second goal in the <a href=

Colombia's Catalina Usme and Daniela Arias are dejected after the loss to England.
England's Lauren Hemp, left, and Colombia's Ana Guzman fight for the ball.
England's Chloe Kelly controls the ball.
Leicy Santos celebrates her goal that gave Colombia a 1-0 lead against England.
Australian players celebrate after winning a <a href=

French goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin punches the ball away during the quarterfinal match against Australia.
Australia fans show their support at Brisbane Stadium.
Australia's Mary Fowler controls the ball between France's Sakina Karchaoui and Wendie Renard.
French players are dejected after the match against Australia.
Sweden's Filippa Angeldal, second right, celebrates after scoring a penalty against Japan on Friday, August 11. <a href=

Japanese players react following the loss to Sweden.
Sweden's Amanda Ilestedt scores the first goal of the quarterfinal match against Japan.
Japan's Risa Shimizu dribbles the ball during the match against Sweden.
Swedish captain Kosovare Asllani talks to her teammates prior to playing Japan.
Spain's Salma Paralluelo celebrates after scoring in extra time during the quarterfinal clash against the Netherlands on August 11. It ended up being the winning goal as <a href=

Esmee Brugts of the Netherlands goes for a header against Spain.
Spanish goalkeeper Cata Coll and defender Olga Carmona watch as a shot from the Netherlands' Lineth Beerensteyn goes wide during extra time.
Spain's Jennifer Hermoso celebrates the victory over the Netherlands.
France's Selma Bacha, left, and Élisa De Almeida celebrate after a<a href=

Morocco's Sakina Ouzraoui is consoled by France's Estelle Cascarino after the match.
France's Eugénie Le Sommer heads the ball for her team's fourth goal — and her second of the match — against Morocco.
Morocco's Ghizlane Chebbak and France's Sandie Toletti compete for the ball.
French midfielder Kenza Dali, left, celebrates with teammate Kadidiatou Diani against Morocco.
Colombia's Daniela Arias celebrates with fans on August 8 after her team defeated Jamaica 1-0 to progress to the quarterfinals.
Catalina Usme celebrates after scoring Colombia's goal against Jamaica.
Jamaica's Kiki Van Zanten, left, and Colombia's Carolina Arias compete for the ball.
A Colombia fan soaks up the atmosphere before the match in Melbourne.
Jamaica's Jody Brown controls the ball next to Colombia's Diana Ospina Garcia.
Denmark's Amalie Vangsgaard, left, and Australia's Caitlin Foord compete for the ball during a round-of-16 match on August 7. <a href=

Australia fans wave placards during the match in Sydney. The team is nicknamed the Matildas.
Foord scores a goal past Denmark goalkeeper Lene Christensen.
Denmark's players gather in a huddle before the match against Australia.
England's Chloe Kelly, bottom, celebrates with teammates Mary Earps, left, and Rachel Daly after scoring the winning penalty against Nigeria in the round of 16 on August 7. <a href=

Members of Nigeria's team react during the penalty shootout.
England's Lauren James received a red card in the 87th minute after stepping on Michelle Alozie.
Earps makes a save against Nigeria.
US players comfort one another after <a href=

US star Alex Morgan cries after the loss to Sweden.
Swedish players celebrate the victory over the United States.
Sweden's Amanda Ilestedt, left, and Fridolina Rolfö celebrate the win.
US forward Lynn Williams, left, and Sweden defender Jonna Andersson compete for the ball.
Megan Rapinoe takes a corner kick for the United States.
Morgan heads the ball against Sweden.
Morgan and Ilestedt go up for a header.
US midfielder Lindsey Horan grimaces in pain after a collision.
US goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher grabs the ball in front of her goal.
Horan gets to a header against Sweden.
Swedish goalkeeper Zećira Mušović dives to save a Horan header.
Sweden's Johanna Kaneryd, center, fights off Andi Sullivan.
Naeher rises for a ball during the match against Sweden.
Rapinoe, left, looks on from the substitutes' bench.
Swedish captain Kosovare Asllani talks to her teammates before the US match.
The Netherlands' Jill Roord celebrates after scoring the first goal in her team's 2-0 victory over South Africa on August 6. With the victory, the Dutch advanced to the quarterfinals.
Fans of the Netherlands cheer before the start of the match against South Africa.
South Africa's Bambanani Mbane grimaces after colliding with the Netherlands' Lieke Martens. She was taken off on a stretcher shortly after.
Japan's Risa Shimizu, third from left, celebrates with teammates after scoring in the 3-1 victory over Norway on August 5.
Japan's Ayaka Yamashita of Japan dives in vain to stop a Norway shot on goal.
Japan's Mina Tanaka, center, rises for a header against Norway.
Spain's Aitana Bonmatí celebrates a goal in the 5-1 win against Switzerland on August 5.
Spain's Alba Redondo puts the ball past Swiss goalkeeper Gaëlle Thalmann to score her team's second goal.
Spectators show their support during the match between Spain and Switzerland.
Morocco players celebrate on August 3 after beating Colombia 1-0 to advance to the round of 16.
Fans of Colombia watch their team's match against Morocco.
Colombian teenage star Linda Caicedo, left, challenges Morocco's Zineb Redouani during their final group match.
German players react after they crashed out of the tournament following a 1-1 draw with South Korea on August 3.
South Korean goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi dives for the ball during the match against Germany.
South Korea's Cho So-hyun celebrates after giving her side the lead against Germany.
Brazil's Marta, right, competes against Jamaica's Tiernny Wiltshire on August 2. <a href=

Jamaica's Deneisha Blackwood celebrates with teammates after the draw with Brazil.
Marta reacts after Brazil's elimination.
France's Vicki Becho celebrates after scoring her team's sixth goal against Panama on August 2. France won 6-3 to advance to the knockout stage.
Panama players spend time with fans after the France match. This was Panama's first year playing at a Women's World Cup.
France's Maëlle Lakrar celebrates after scoring her team's first goal against Panama.
South Africa's Linda Motlhalo celebrates her team's <a href=

South Africa's Thembi Kgatlana tries to hold off Italy's Elena Linari.
Italy's Arianna Caruso celebrates after scoring against South Africa.
Sweden's Elin Rubensson celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot against Argentina on August 2. <a href=

Sweden's Rebecka Blomqvist heads the ball for a goal against Argentina.
Argentina's Florencia Bonsegundo lies on the pitch after getting injured against Sweden.
England's Chloe Kelly celebrates after scoring against China on August 1. <a href=

England's Rachel Daly, right, scores the sixth goal against China.
Chinese forward Wang Shuang, left, celebrates with Yang Lina after scoring against England.
Chinese defender Yao Wei, right, blocks a shot from England's Lucy Bronze.
Pernille Harder celebrates after scoring the first goal of Denmark's 2-0 victory over Haiti on August 1. <a href=

Denmark's Amalie Vangsgaard shields the ball from Haiti's Ruthny Mathurin.
Haiti fans cheer their team at the stadium in Perth, Australia.
Haiti's Melchie Dumornay, left, gets tangled with Denmark's Simone Boye.
US forward Sophia Smith heads the ball during the <a href=

Megan Rapinoe consoles Portugal's Jessica Silva following the draw, which knocked Portugal out of the competition.
US forward Alex Morgan collides with Portuguese goalkeeper Inês Pereira in the first half.
US fans show their support ahead of the Portugal match.
US goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher collides with the post.
Referee Rebecca Welch shows a yellow card to US midfielder Rose Lavelle.
Dutch midfielder Wieke Kaptein takes a selfie with fans after the Netherlands defeated Vietnam 7-0 and advanced to the knockout stage.
Vietnamese players Trần Thị Thu Thảo, left, and Dương Thị Vân react after the loss to the Netherlands.
Dutch forward Katja Snoeijs celebrates her team's first goal, which was scored by Lieke Martens.
The Netherlands' Sherida Spitse, top, and Vietnam's Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nhã compete for the ball.
Australian defender Stephanie Catley, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's fourth goal against Canada on July 31. <a href=

Australia fans in Melbourne celebrate after the Canada match.
Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan makes a save against Australia. Canada was eliminated because of the loss and Nigeria's goalless draw against Ireland.
Australia's Hayley Raso, right, celebrates after scoring her side's second goal against Canada.
Ireland's Lily Agg, right, battles for the ball with Nigeria's Uchenna Kanu during a 0-0 draw on July 31.
Nigeria's Asisat Oshoala, center, misses a chance against Ireland.
A fan shows support for the Nigerian team during the match in Brisbane, Australia.
Nigeria's Chiamaka Nnadozie and Ireland's Kyra Carusa react after a collision.
Japanese players celebrate at the end of their <a href=

Fans of Japan help clean after the match in Wellington, New Zealand. Japan's fans have become known in recent years for their efforts to <a href=

Japan's Hikaru Naomoto, top, and Spain's Ona Batlle compete for the ball.
Japan's Hinata Miyazawa, second from left, celebrates scoring the team's third goal with Honoka Hayashi, left, and Risa Shimizu.
Costa Rican players appeal to referee Bouchra Karboubi before a VAR check on July 31. Zambia beat Costa Rica 3-1. It was Zambia's first-ever win at a Women's World Cup.
Zambia's Barbra Banda celebrates after scoring her team's second goal from the penalty spot.
Costa Rican midfielder Melissa Herrera, right, scores her team's lone goal.
Costa Rica's Fabiola Villalobos, left, takes a shot at goal as Zambia's Racheal Kundananji attempts to block.
Colombia's Manuela Vanegas celebrates her team's winning goal against Germany on June 30. The goal came in the final seconds of the match and lifted Colombia to a <a href=

Germany's Alexandra Popp and Colombia's Jorelyn Carabalí battle for the ball.
Vanegas marks Germany's Jule Brand.
Germany fans attend the match against Colombia.
Linda Caicedo celebrates after scoring Colombia's opener against Germany.
Norway celebrates a goal in its 6-0 victory over the Philippines on July 30. The victory helped Norway clinch a spot in the knockout stage.
The Philippines' Dominique Randle, center, consoles a teammate after the loss to Norway. The Philippines, playing in its first Women's World Cup, was eliminated with the loss to Norway.
The Philippines' Hali Long makes a heart with her hands at the end of the Norway match.
Philippines goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel fails to stop Norway's Caroline Graham Hansen from scoring the third goal of the match.
Norway's Sophie Roman Haug is challenged by Jessika Cowart.
Philippines fans cheer for their team before the match against Norway.
Ali Riley and Katie Bowen hug after New Zealand was knocked out of the tournament on July 30. The co-hosts drew Switzerland 0-0, but they will miss the knockout stage because of goal differential.
Bowen clears the ball in front of Switzerland's Julia Stierli.
Swiss forward Ramona Bachmann controls the ball against New Zealand.
Moroccan players celebrate their 1-0 win over South Korea on July 30.
Morocco's Nouhaila Benzina, <a href=

Morocco's Ibtissam Jraidi controls the ball before shooting on goal.
Panama's Aldrith Quintero, right, reaches for the ball in front of Jamaica's Deneisha Blackwood and Kameron Simmonds on July 29. <a href=

Jamaican players celebrate after Allyson Swaby scored against Panama.
French coach Herve Renard kisses defender Wendie Renard on the forehead after her winning goal secured a <a href=

Brazil's Debinha celebrates her goal against France.
Renard celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's second goal.
Sweden's Amanda Ilestedt, center, heads the ball to score the opening goal against Italy on July 29. Sweden won 5-0 to clinch a spot in the round of 16.
Sweden's Rebecka Blomqvist celebrates after scoring her side's fifth goal against Italy.
Italy fans cheer before their team's match against Sweden in Wellington, New Zealand.
China's Wang Shuang celebrates after scoring against Haiti on July 28. <a href=

Haiti's Melchie Dumornay, left, collides with China's Dou Jiaxing on July 28.
England's Chloe Kelly attempts a bicycle kick versus Denmark on July 28. <a href=

England goalkeeper Mary Earps makes a save against Denmark.
Denmark's Janni Thomsen, left, collides with England's Alex Greenwood.
Lauren James celebrates after scoring against Denmark.
England's Keira Walsh is stretchered off after sustaining an injury. Walsh, England's midfield metronome, went down clutching her knee with no other player in her vicinity
South Africa's Bambanani Mbane slides in for a tackle against Argentina's Mariana Larroquette on July 28. Their match ended in a 2-2 draw.
Argentina striker Yamila Rodriguez has <a href=

South Africa's Linda Motlhalo celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's first goal against Argentina. South Africa led 2-0 before Argentina's dramatic comeback.
Onome Ebi, left, and Osinachi Ohale celebrate after <a href=

Players from Australia and Nigeria compete for a ball in the air on July 27.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese takes a selfie with fans before the Nigeria match in Brisbane.
Portugal forward Jéssica Silva, right, watches a shot go wide during a match against Vietnam on July 27. Portugal won 2-0, eliminating Vietnam's hopes of advancing in the tournament.
Portugal's Telma Encarnação reaches for the ball during the Vietnam match.
Vietnam fans show their support before the Portugal match.
Dutch goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar grabs the ball over the United States' Julie Ertz during their 1-1 draw on July 27.
US fans react during the Netherlands match, which was played in Wellington, New Zealand.
US midfielder Lindsey Horan celebrates after scoring against the Netherlands. It was her second goal of the tournament.
Horan's header tied the match after the Dutch took an early lead.
More than 27,000 fans attended the Netherlands-US match.
Canada's Vanessa Gilles competes for a header with Ireland's Niamh Fahey, bottom, and Louise Quinn during a match on July 26. <a href=

Ireland's Katie McCabe applauds fans after the match against Canada.
Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan can't get to a McCabe corner kick that went directly into the goal to give Ireland a 1-0 lead. The incredible "Olimpico" goal came in just the fourth minute of play.
Canadian forward Adriana Leon celebrates after scoring her team's second goal against Ireland.
Spain's Jennifer Hermoso is thrown in the air by teammates as they celebrate their 5-0 victory over Zambia on July 26. With the win, Spain clinched a spot in the tournament's knockout round.
Hermoso, left, scores her first of two goals in the win over Zambia.
Spain fans enjoy the Zambia match at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.
Spain's Alexia Putellas consoles Zambia's Mary Wilombe after the match. Zambia still had one match to play, but it was not going to be able to advance to the knockout stage.
Japan's Hikaru Naomoto, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal in the 2-0 victory over Costa Rica on July 26. It was Japan's second win in as many games, and it clinched a spot in the knockout stage.
Japan's Mina Tanaka heads the ball toward the Costa Rican goal.
Japan fans react during the match against Costa Rica, which took place at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Costa Rican goalkeeper Daniela Solera is shaken up during a play against Japan. She was able to continue.
Switzerland players, in red, defend their box during a match against Norway on July 25. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.
Rain pours down during the Norway-Switzerland match.
People in Indigenous dress perform during a welcome ceremony that was held before Norway-Switzerland.
Philippines midfielder Sarina Bolden celebrates scoring against New Zealand on July 25. Bolden's first-half header <a href=

New Zealand's Hannah Wilkinson attempts to head the ball past Philippines goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel during their match on July 25.
Bolden scores on New Zealand keeper Victoria Esson.
Philippines fans show their support during the team's first-ever win at a Women's World Cup.
Colombia's Catalina Usme celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's first goal against South Korea on July 25. Colombia won 2-0.
South Korea's Cho So-hyun, bottom left, competes for the ball against Colombia's Jorelyn Carabali and Carolina Arias.
Colombia fans show their support in Sydney.
Usme tries to control the ball in front of South Korea's Kim Hye-ri.
Colombia midfielder Manuela Vanegas receives a yellow card from referee Rebecca Welch.
Brazil's Marta, left, heads the ball during a match against Panama on July 24. <a href=

Brazil's Ary Borges celebrates her third goal during the Panama. Her hat trick was the first of the tournament.
Brazilian fans watch the match against Panama, which was held in Adelaide, Australia.
Moroccan goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi tries to punch the ball away during a match against Germany on July 24. <a href=

Germany's Alexandra Popp celebrates scoring a goal against Morocco.
Germany fans celebrate as their team gets off to a great start.
Morocco's Fatima Tagnaout runs during the match against Germany.
Italy's Cristiana Girelli celebrates after scoring a late winner against Argentina on July 24. Italy won 1-0.
Italian goalkeeper Francesca Durante makes a save during the match against Argentina.
Argentina coach German Portanova reacts during the Italy match.
Italy's Giulia Dragoni is challenged by Estefania Banini of Argentina. At the age of 16, Dragoni became the <a href=

Jamaican players celebrate on July 23, after their 0-0 draw against France earned them their country's first-ever point in the Women's World Cup.
Jamaica's Atlanta Primus tugs the shirt of France's Grace Geyoro.
Jamaican goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer marshals her defense.
Jamaica's Khadija "Bunny" Shaw is sent off for a second bookable offense against France.
France's Estelle Cascarino, left, and Shaw battle for the ball.
Portugal's Ines Pereira dives in vain as the Netherlands' Stefanie van der Gragt, not pictured, scores the only goal in the match on July 23.
Van der Gragt, left, and Portugal's Jessica Silva battle for possession.
Silva signs autographs for fans after the match.
Sweden's Amanda Ilestedt celebrates after scoring a late winner against South Africa on July 23. Sweden won 2-1.
South Africa's Hildah Magaia, who scored the opening goal, runs with the ball alongside Sweden's Elin Rubensson.
A South Africa fan shows support during the match.
Danish players celebrate Amalie Vangsgaard's late goal that gave them a 1-0 victory over China on July 22.
China fans show their support prior to their team's opening match against Denmark.
China's Zhang Linyan competes for the ball with Denmark's Pernille Harder.
China head coach Shui Qingxia gestures during the match.
England's Alessia Russo and Haiti's Tabita Joseph fight for the ball during the two sides' opening game on July 22. England's Lionesses, the reigning European champions, earned a scrappy 1-0 victory over the tournament debutants.
England's Georgia Stanway converts the winner against Haiti from the penalty spot.
Nicolas Delépine, Haiti's head coach, instructs his team during the match.
Haiti goalkeeper Kerly Theus jumps to make one of many impressive saves against England.
Japan's Jun Endo celebrates with her bench after scoring her team's fourth goal in a 5-0 win against Zambia on July 22.
Japan's Mina Tanaka battles with Zambia's Agnes Musase.
Aoba Fujino of Japan is brought down by Zambian goalkeeper Catherine Musonda, resulting in a penalty to Japan. It was later overturned due to offside.
Japan supporters react following their team's emphatic victory over Zambia.
US forward Alex Morgan is surrounded by Vietnam defenders during their opening match on July 22. The United States, the two-time defending champs, won 3-0.
Lindsey Horan, left, celebrates with US teammate Megan Rapinoe after Horan scored the third goal against Vietnam.
Players collide in the box as Vietnam goalkeeper Trần Thị Kim Thanh looks to clear the ball away.
US forward Sophia Smith dribbles the ball against Vietnam. She scored the first two goals of the match.
Fans cheer during the US-Vietnam match in Auckland, New Zealand.
Spain's Esther González wins a header against Costa Rica's Mariana Benavides on July 21. Spain won 3-0.
González scores her team's third goal against Costa Rica.
A Māori welcoming ceremony is held prior to the Spain-Costa Rica match.
Switzerland's Seraina Piubel scores her team's second goal during its 2-0 victory against the Philippines on July 21.
The Philippines' Katrina Guillou takes a shot against Switzerland's Gaëlle Thalmann. The goal was disallowed.
A Philippines fan enjoys the pre-match atmosphere. This was the country's Women's World Cup debut.
Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan punches the ball clear during a 0-0 draw against Nigeria on July 21.
Nigeria's Uchenna Kanu takes a selfie with fans after the Canada match.
Nigerian goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie clears the ball after saving a penalty by Canada's Christine Sinclair.
Australia's Steph Catley, third from left, celebrates scoring her team's only goal against Ireland on June 20. Australia won 1-0 in Sydney.
Fans in Melbourne celebrate as they watch the match between Australia and Ireland.
Ireland's Heather Payne, left, tries to cross the ball past Australia's Kyra Cooney-Cross. This was Ireland's first-ever match in a Women's World Cup.
Supporters of both Australia and Ireland watch the match in Sydney. The second match of this year's tournament set a new <a href=

Australian goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold makes a save.
New Zealand's Ria Percival and Katie Bowen, in black, compete for the ball with Norway's Caroline Graham Hansen on July 20. New Zealand won the opening match 1-0. It was the country's first-ever win at a Women's World Cup.
Norway star Ada Hegerberg reacts after a missed chance against New Zealand.
New Zealand's CJ Bott, left, and Norway's Mathilde Harviken vie for the ball.
New Zealand fans react during the match against Norway, which was played in Auckland, New Zealand.
Norway players huddle before the match against New Zealand.
Fireworks explode during the tournament's opening ceremony, which was held before the New Zealand-Norway match.
<a href=

Dancers perform during the opening ceremony at Auckland's Eden Park.
Performers dance during the opening ceremony.
A performer is pictured during the opening ceremony.
Benee and Mallrat perform "Do It Again," the official song of this year's Women's World Cup, during the opening ceremony. Benee is from New Zealand and Mallrat is from Australia.
Dancers take the field during the opening ceremony.
Children hold flags during the opening ceremony.
Spanish players celebrate after winning the Women's World Cup final on Sunday, August 20.
Spain's Eva Navarro celebrates with the Women's World Cup trophy.
The best photos of the 2023 Women’s World Cup

2 of 289PrevNext

Irene Paredes should have doubled Spain’s advantage, while Paralluelo’s first-time shot kissed the post just before the break.

Spain was in the ascendancy and continued to dominate after the break.

It seemed as if victory would be sealed in the 68th minute when Jennifer Hermoso stepped up to take a penalty after Keira Walsh had been penalized for handball. But a fabulous save from Earps, who dove low to her left to keep out Hermoso’s effort, ensured England stayed in the match.

Buoyed, England enjoyed its best period of the match thereafter. Substitute Lauren James forced Spain goalkeeper Cata Coll into action but for all of the increase in energy, England could not puncture La Roja’s defense and it was the eventual winner which finished the match the stronger.

Spain head coach Vilda said he was filled with “immense joy and pride.” He told reporters: “We’ve shown how we can play, we’ve shown that we know how to suffer. This team believed and we’re world champions.”

Meanwhile, England’s head coach Sarina Wiegman, who has now suffered defeat in two successive World Cup finals after being at the helm of a Netherlands team which lost to the US in 2019, said the Lionesses should feel proud.

“Of course, it feels really bad now,” she said. “We got to the final and then we lose it, but how we have shown ourselves, who we are, how we want to play, overcoming so many challenges we can be very proud, but it doesn’t feel that way at the moment.”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Zeen Subscribe
A customizable subscription slide-in box to promote your newsletter
[mc4wp_form id="314"]