Spain beat England 1-0 to win Women's World Cup final
Spain have won its first Women's World Cup championship with a 1-0 victory over England.
The win for Spain in just its third World Cup appearance prevented the Lionesses - the reigning European champions - from bringing the trophy back to England for the first time since 1966. England's men's team won the nation's only World Cup that year.
Spain won on a goal from Olga Carmona in the 29th minute. The left back scored in back-to-back World Cup games for Spain, which has a tournament-best 18 goals in this World Cup, and became just the seventh player in tournament history to score in both the semifinals and the final.
Spain, which had a near mutiny last year when 15 players quit the national team, was the more aggressive team in the final and pressed the entire game.
The England loss was the first this tournament for coach Sarina Wiegman, who was hired in late 2021 as the team’s first non-British manager. It was also Wiegman's second consecutive loss in the finale.
She is the only coach in the history of the tournament to take two nations to the final; Wiegman was coach of the Netherlands when the Dutch lost 2-0 to the United States in 2019.
The finale guaranteed a first-time Women's World Cup winner as neither Spain or England had ever hoisted the trophy.
England goalkeeper Mary Earps stopped Spain from taking a commanding lead in the Women's World Cup final when she saved a Jenni Hermoso penalty kick.
Hermoso's attempt in the 69th minute came after Keira Walsh was called for a handball violation. The penalty was called after a VAR review.
Earlier, England playmaker Lauren James was substituted into the Women's World Cup final at the start of the second half with Spain leading 1-0.
James was on the bench for the start following her two-game suspension for stomping on a Nigeria player in the round of 16. James came into the game along with Chloe Kelly in what appeared to be a four-back set for England. Spain made no substitutions.
England nearly opened the scoring when Georgia Stanway broke into the box and got the ball to Lucy Bronze, who shot high.
Daly teed up Lauren Hemp, who fired from outside the area but the ball hit the crossbar.
Two minutes later, Spain nearly scored when Alba Redondo fired a shot at the back post that forced a save from Earps.
England and Spain kicked off the final of the Women's World Cup on Sunday, capping off a tournament that has broken attendance and TV records and raised hopes of a surge in interest for the women's game.
Co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the ninth edition of the global showpiece event was the first to be held in the southern hemisphere and has already broken attendance records.
While local interest ebbed when Australia exited in the semi-finals, some 2 million fans will have passed through the gates in nine host cities after Sunday's final kicked off at 8 p.m. (1000 GMT).
Thousands of fans were already milling around Stadium Australia in Sydney hours before kick-off on Sunday, with troupes of drummers and stilt walkers creating a festival atmosphere.
England and Spain are both making their first appearance at a Women's World Cup final, with England not prevailing in a men's tournament since 1966.
"I feel happy, excited, but very nervous, because we've had a lot of letdowns in the last 50 years," said England fan Michael Khoodriuth.
Australia's semi-final loss to England on Wednesday drew an average of 7.13 million viewers on the channels of local broadcaster Seven Network, the highest viewership ever recorded by research firm OzTAM, which launched in 2001.
Matildas matches sold out months in advance, and organisers expect the average attendance to overtake 30,000 once all 64 matches are completed.
The last Women's World Cup in France four years ago attracted more than 1.1. million fans to 52 matches with an average crowd of 21,756.
Demand was weaker in New Zealand, whose team went out in the group stages. FIFA gave away thousands of tickets and some games attracted as few as 7,000 fans, although White Ferns matches broke records for a soccer crowd in the country.