The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Final Is Set: Spain vs England

Published on 16 August 2023 at 13:00

Sarina Wiegman's England will play Jorge Vilda’s Spain in the final of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, after the Lionesses defeated the Co-Hosts Australia 3-1 in Wednesday’s second semi-final in Sydney, thanks to goals from Manchester United’s Ella Toone, Manchester City’s Lauren Hemp, and Arsenal’s Alessia Russo.


It’s a remarkable achievement for both teams to have made it this far considering the tournaments both have had: Spain have looked from their imperious best considering the wealth of talent within their squad, particularly after their poor defensive performance against Japan, and still in the fallout of the ‘revolt’ against manager Vilda. 


England meanwhile haven’t been as captivating as they were in last year’s EURO triumph, with many feeling they were second best against plucky underdogs like Nigeria and Colombia, but they produced arguably their best performance yet when it truly mattered. 


Facing a strongly partisan home crowd, decisive goals from Toone, Hemp and Russo were  enough to see them through to their maiden World Cup final, after their previous semi-final heartbreak in 2019 against the USA under Phil Neville. 


Australia proved to be a difficult opponent for the Lionesses, with star striker Sam Kerr scoring a wonder goal from range to cancel out Toone’s ferocious opener. But the lead didn’t last long and Hemp’s scrappy goal put the Lionesses back on top, whilst Russo’s goal towards the end settled the semi-final in England’s favour.


Read more: How England Could Win the World Cup


And now Spain awaits this established England team. England notably beat Spain en-route to victory in the EUROs, so the Spaniards will be looking to exact a measure of revenge in this weekend’s final.  


A question on the minds of many will be Lauren James’ involvement in the final: despite a brilliant group stage, the Chelsea star received a red card in the last 16 tie against Nigeria after a reckless stamp, with the notoriously rigid Sarina Wiegman surely looking at keeping a similar starting XI to what has got her side so far this tournament. 


The final won’t be unfamiliar territory for Wiegman: her Netherlands side fell to the USA in the 2019 final, and now the Dutchwoman has another chance at global glory on Sunday, this time against a more even, perhaps ‘beatable’ side than the dominant Americans faced four years ago. 


And there must be a sense of confidence in England to beat this talented Spain side: the likes of Alexia Putellas haven’t been at their brilliant best, needing two late goals to beat Sweden in their own frenetic semi-final. But as an on paper XI, Spain remain arguably the best in the world, whose talent simply cannot be understated.


Who do you think will win the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup this weekend, England or Spain? Let us know your thoughts over on our official Twitter today!


- By Jaspar Shepherdson


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