The time has come, and we finally have our Women’s World Cup finalists. For the first time ever, both of the countries competing in the final have never made it this far in the competition before. This means we’ll have an all-new country to add to the Women’s World Cup hall of fame. No matter who wins, both teams have without a doubt put on a fantastic performance and gave the fans more than we expected.
In honor of the final this Sunday, we wanted to highlight both of the country’s that will be competing in this weekend’s final.
After Olga Carmona’s goal in the 89th minute of Tuesday’s semifinal match, Spain secured their spot in the World Cup final.
This World Cup final will be the first ever that Spain will play – and could lead to their first ever Women’s World Cup championship.
It might come as a shock to many that Spain has reached the final because of past differences with coach Jorge Vilda, but the team collectively put their past aside to reach where they are now.
Road to the World Cup Final
Spain’s campaign has been nothing short of strong since day one. They kicked off the tournament strong with a 3-0 win against Costa Rica, where Costa Rica’s own Valeria del Campo gave Spain the lead by scoring on her own net, while Aitana Bonmati and Esther Gonzalez brought the game to an end with two more goals.
To secure their spot in the knockout stages Spain brought a five-star performance to Eden Park winning their match against Zambia. Nine minutes into the match, Teresa Abelleira kicked off Spain’s lead, while Hermoso and Alba Redondo went back and forth until they rounded out the scoring to 5-0.
Spain may have been on a high after two excellent showings at the start of the group stage, but Japan came full force to humble them. Spain fell 4-0 at the hands of Japan, where they struggled to deal with Japan’s forwards who were too fast for their defensive line. They came out of the group stages second to Japan who were strong contenders for the championship title.
Japan may have given Spain a run for their money, but they did not let that loss slow them down. Vilda took note of the issues his team faced against Japan, and straightened his players out for the knockout stage. Spain changed themselves from a possession heavy squad into scoring machines against Switzerland – giving them a 5-1 win and a spot in the quarter-finals.
Spain managed to push themselves past the quarter-finals for the very first time, but not without a fight. The Netherlands didn’t go easy on Spain when they sent the match into extra time after tying them 1-1. With just nine of the 30 extra minutes left, 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo bounced the ball off the post then into the back of the net – putting Spain through to the semi-finals.
Salma Paralluelo may have made her mark in the quarter-finals, but she also played a key role in advancing the team to the finals. What seemed like a match that would be sent into extra time or even penalties, both teams decided that in the last ten minutes they would pull out their best tricks. At the 80th minute, Paralluelo gave Spain the lead after she was subbed on for Puttellas, but Sweden came right back and scored with only two minutes to spare. With a minute left, Spain’s captain Olga Carmona fired home the match winning goal after a corner kick landed right into her path.
This Women’s World Cup is only the third that Spain has qualified for, and they’ve now reached the final for the very first time. Their star-studded team has some of the best female players from across Europe who are ready to add “World Cup Champion” to their resume. Do you think Spain has what it takes to take home the trophy?
After being crowned the champions of Europe last year, the Lionesses are ready to be crowned the champions of the world!
After a hard fight losing key players to injury or red cards, the Lionesses have proved that they can adapt to setbacks. The team has shown that they’re tactically flexible and capable of bringing the action that fans love to see.
Like Spain, this is England’s first time reaching the Women’s World Cup final, and could be their first ever championship. Thanks to their savvy coach Sarina Wiegman and the team’s title-winning energy, England is not going down without a fight.
Road to the World Cup Final
If England thought they could breeze their way through the group stage, then they thought wrong. In their first match against Haiti, the latter was the better side for a long period of time and gave England a strong fight. Luckily, Georgia Stanway’s second shot on net found the back and gave England a winning start.
Their second match against Denmark was much like their last, but England came back stronger, controlled the ball, and put on a hard fight. Lauren James’ cry to join the starting line-up paid off when she scored only five minutes into the game to put England ahead 1-0.
Their best performance from the group stage came from their 6-1 win against China, where they brought the version of England that fans wanted to see. The speed, energy, and skill that was displayed by them on the attacking end was more than the Chinese side could handle. The win settled fans’ nerves and advanced them into the knockout stage.
One of the most memorable matches that has come out of the 2023 Women’s World Cup came from the tight race between England and Nigeria. For most of the match the Lionesses were second to Nigeria and were lucky to get through to extra time. After Lauren James’ late red card, they were able to hold firm and take the match to win on penalties. Despite the upset that was James’ red card – that later led to a suspension – Chloe Kelly brought back good spirits when she smashed home one of the fastest penalty kicks in football history.
They showed more resilience in their quarter-final clash with Colombia and secured themselves their third semi-final appearance for the nation. Colombia was tactical in their performance, but England pounced on the two errors that they made to score their game winning goals.
The final hurdle they had to face was taking down one of the strongest teams in the tournament: co-hosts Australia. The Matilda’s were fan favorites playing at home, but Ella Toone’s goal in the first half gave England a well-deserved lead. However, leave it to Australian superstar Sam Kerr to level the playing field and tie the match in the second half. That didn’t stop England from making a strong comeback when they noticed mistakes being made on Australia’s defensive line. Alessia Russo ended Australia’s hopes for making it to the final when she scored the teams third and final goal, while Australia had been searching for the equalizer.
This has been England’s sixth World Cup showing, but this is the first time they’ve made it to the final. Their best performance was in 2015 when they placed third, but they’ve already outdone themselves in this year’s tournament.
England has shown that they can beat Spain – as seen at the 2022 Euro – but Spain was without some of their strongest players at the time. Nonetheless, if the Lionesses stay focused and play like they have throughout the tournament, they have a strong shot at the title.
Even though the competition may be coming to an end, that doesn’t mean you have to give up the chase to find your favorite players in the Panini Card & Sticker collection! If you haven’t already, don’t forget to complete your Panini collections which are available on SoccerCards.ca.
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