Spain and England advance to the FIFA Women's World Cup Final
The GIST: After nearly one month of thrilling fútbol, Sunday’s FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) final is officially locked in. Now one squad is just 90(ish) minutes away from the game’s biggest prize — let’s recap how we got here.
No. 10 Australia vs. No. 4 England: Early this morning, the reigning Euro champs defeated the tournament co-hosts 3–1. As much as Australia’s superstar Sam Kerr dazzled, including scoring the Matildas lone goal, the Lionesses capitalized on Australia’s defensive lapses, with Lauren Hemp putting home the game winner to end the home team’s incredible run.
- This is England’s first WWC final appearance, a powerful testament to the team’s depth and adaptability, considering the numerous injuries that threatened to derail the Lionesses’ chances before the tournament even began.
No. 6 Spain vs. No. 3 Sweden: Tuesday’s semifinal match sure brought the drama — all three goals were scored after the 80th minute, with La Roja ultimately nailing the 2–1 game-winner in the 89th minute. Spain is through to their first WWC final, while the Blue and Yellow exit in the semis for the fourth time in WWC history. Ouch.
- Spain’s on-field talent is undeniable, and it comes in spite of ongoing issues with their head coach, Jorge Vilda. Last September, 15 national team players demanded his firing, noting impacts on their emotional and mental health. Those demands were refused by the federation.
- Only three of those 15 women were brought to this year’s WWC, and the wounds are clearly still fresh. Still, come Sunday, La Roja will play on soccer’s biggest stage, a testament to how impressive they’ve been, in spite of chaos off the pitch.