Spain denied England a first-ever Women’s World Cup crown with an historic victory of their own in Sydney.
Olga Carmona’s goal in the first half was the difference in a nervy final at Stadium Australia on Sunday that was filled to the brim with quality, effort and controversy.
Sarina Wiegman opted to stick with an unchanged line-up for the game, giving Ella Toone the start in attacking midfield over Lauren James following her return from suspension. Spain dropped Alexia Putellas for Salma Paralluelo following her super sub heroics in the previous rounds.
A nervy opening to the game broke out in the 15th minute with Lauren Hemp hitting the crossbar after being teed up by Rachel Daly.
Spain responded immediately in an increasingly open game by finding Salma Parraluelo in the box on the counter. The Barcelona youngster missed her kick but Alba Redondo popped up at the far post to side-foot a shot straight at Mary Earps with most of the goal open for her to aim at.
La Roja were forcing the issue more and opened the scoring on 29 minutes when Lucy Bronze was punished for losing the ball in the centre circle. Teresa Abelleira sparked an attack which eventually found left-back Olga Carmona with a superb crossfield ball and the Spain captain controlled drilled her shot past Earps and into the far corner.
England struggled to respond and could have gone into the break two down when Parraluelo spun and hit the outside of the post with the last shot of the first half.
Wiegman rolled the dice at the break with two changes, Lauren James and Chloe Kelly coming on in a switch to 4-2-3-1 with Daly and Alessia Russo departing.
England improved but were unable to test the goalkeeper before Earps was called into action from the penalty spot on the 70th minute. Walsh was pulled up by a long VAR check for a tight handball and yet Jenni Hermoso’s effort was saved low and to the goalkeeper’s left.
Several stoppages, including a long injury delay for Alex Greenwood, led to 13 minutes of added-on time to finish the tournament.
However, Spain expertly navigated the Lionesses’ last efforts to lift their first-ever Women’s World Cup trophy.