Spain had a great game, on the Australian night of Sunday (20), beat England by XXX and won the Women’s World Cup. It was the culmination of an unlikely winning streak, with fights, wide open internal problems and a rout suffered in the title campaign in Oceania.
The team managed by Jorge Vilda, hated by most of the players, ended their journey in Group C of the World Cup by taking Japan 4-0. At that point, it seemed unreasonable to bet that 20 days later the team would be dominating the European champions and celebrating a historic triumph at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium.
Only once before in history has a team been beaten en route to the Cup title. It was in 1954, in Switzerland, where West Germany lost 8-3 to Puskás’ Hungary in the first phase, reacted, reached the decision and defeated Hungary itself by 3-2, an upset that became known as the “miracle of Bern”. .
In Australia, which hosted the 2023 World Cup in partnership with New Zealand, it was not necessary to turn the tables in the final. Spain took a ball on the crossbar at the beginning of the match, it is true, but it proved to be superior throughout practically a good part of the confrontation, with a game of short passes and advanced marking that suffocated the English.
These were only able to balance the actions for about 20 minutes, during which time they were twice threatened by Hemp. That’s when the Spanish game of touches began to stand out, with exceptional work in the frame by Bonmatí, very well accompanied in midfield by Abelleira and Hermoso.
A very clear chance was lost in a bid in which Paralluelo and Redondo failed to finish in the small area. At 29 minutes, finally, the net was swung. Bronze was disarmed in an attempt to go on the attack and left England’s right wing unguarded. It was there that Carmona appeared –after good passes from Abelleira and Caldentey– to score.
In an attempt to change the game’s panorama, Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman made two changes – one of them the entry of striker Lauren James, who spent two rounds suspended for stepping on an opponent and lost her position. The game was more balanced, but it was again the Spaniards who had clearer opportunities.
First, Mariona stopped in good defense from Earps. Then, with the help of the video, the North American referee Tori Pensa whistled a penalty, due to a touch of Walsh’s hand. Hermoso missed the chance to kill the game with a weak beat, in the 25th minute. Earps dropped into the left corner and wedged the ball into his arms.
With no option, England went more aggressively to the attack in the final part of the confrontation. In one of the best moments of the team, James got rid of the marking and hit hard from inside the area. Cata Coll stretched and made great defense. Even with 14 minutes of added time, however, there was no force to change the result.
It was a good final for a Cup considered a success by Fifa (International Football Federation). There were many upsets, and the drop in the average number of goals per match was seen by the entity’s technical group as a sign of the evolution of the sport, since the distance between the best teams and the rest has decreased.
This was cause for celebration for the president of the international federation, Gianni Infantino, who had been asked to increase the number of participants to 32. “Teams from all six confederations have won at least one match. kills,” he celebrated.
“Three African teams advanced. I wanted to say this before but they would say I’m crazy. So I say now, now it’s easier. Jamaica eliminated Brazil. South Africa eliminated Italy and Argentina. Morocco and South Korea knocked out Germany. Who would have thought this would be possible before the World Cup? Well, it has,” smiled Infantino.
He also smiled when celebrating the revenue of US$ 570 million (R$ 2.8 billion) from the World Cup. And he smiled as he watched the party from Spain, who had a bumpy ride to their first world title. Not only because of the defeat suffered by Japan in the first phase. But because of the crisis –extended until the decision– between the group of athletes and coach Jorge Vilda.
After last year’s Eurocup elimination, against England, 15 players signed a manifesto against the coach’s methods and the structure offered by the Royal Spanish Federation. Others did not sign the paper, but said they supported what it said. And the federation, chaired by Luis Rubiales, put its foot down.
Only three of the protest signatories returned to the team, and the atmosphere of tension was constant. The players did not celebrate with the coach their many goals – with 18 balls in the net, Spain had the best attack in the competition. On the eve of the final, the press conference given by Vilda alongside defender Irene Paredes, who barely looked at him, was tense.
The next day, however, Spain was world champion.