England vs Spain in Women’s World Cup final 2023: when is it and how to watch

Jess Carter is not nervous about facing Spain in England’s first World Cup final appearance since 1966.

The Chelsea defender has been one of England’s best players in Australia and said: “I think so (we play without fear). We’re a confident group. We’ve got all the tools to be a successful team. It’s about finding a way to get the best out of ourselves.

“We’ve managed to do it at different times. We’ve played games when we have not done very well but we’ve got through and that’s what you have to find.

“Personally, I won’t have any nerves. It’s football. I’m not really a nervous person. I understand and know from the outside, it’s the World Cup final, your biggest moment. But I play my best when I’m super calm.

“At the end of the day, it’s just a game of football. We have to perform as we did in the first group game. Maybe some people have nerves but I think that will be channelled into positive energy come the night.”

For more on what Carter and England are saying, go here.

What and when is it?

The World Cup final is the single biggest fixture in international women’s football. The tournament is assured to have a new winner this year with Spain or England both aiming to lift the trophy for the first time.

The final is tomorrow, with the game kicking off at 11am UK time (8pm Sydney local time).

Where is the match being played?

The final will be played at the Stadium Australia in Sydney.

How to watch

The final will be show on both BBC One and ITV1.

Broadcasting rights for the Women’s World Cup are being shared between BBC and ITV. It was ITV who broadcast England’s quarter-final win but the BBC had the rights to broadcast both semi-finals.

How did the teams reach the final?

Lauren Hemp’s second-half strike helped fire England into their first World Cup final as the Lionesses sealed a 3-1 victory over co-hosts Australia.

Ella Toone, who replaced the suspended Lauren James for England’s quarter-final win over Colombia, scored 36 minutes into her second start of the tournament in front of a crowd of 75,784.

Sam Kerr, making her first start of competition, equalised for the first-time semi-finalists with a stunning individual goal after the break before Hemp put England back out in front.

Alessia Russo added another late in the second half to cap off the historic encounter and set up an all-European final showdown against Spain.

England are now one win away from lifting two major trophies in just under 13 months after their triumph at last summer’s European Championship.

Earlier in the week, Olga Carmona struck late to lift Spain to a thrilling 2-1 win over Sweden in the other semi-final.

Carmona’s 90th-minute strike from long-range pinged off the crossbar and into the goal two minutes after Rebecka Blomqvist had levelled the match for Sweden.

Salma Paralluelo, the quarter-final hero against the Netherlands, put Spain in the lead with the opening goal in the 81st minute, breathing life into what had been a slow-burning, cagey affair.

Who is in England’s squad?

Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City)

Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Esme Morgan (Manchester City), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Laura Coombs (Manchester City), Jordan Nobbs (Aston Villa), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Keira Walsh (Barcelona), Katie Zelem (Manchester United)

Forwards: Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), Bethany England (Tottenham Hotspur), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Lauren James (Chelsea), Chloe Kelly (Manchester City), Katie Robinson (Brighton & Hove Albion), Alessia Russo (Manchester United)

What are England saying?

England striker Alessia Russo has described tomorrow’s Women’s World Cup final as the “one that means the most” as the Lionesses aim to make sporting history against Spain in Sydney.

Russo’s goals in both the quarter-final and semi-final victories over Colombia and Australia respectively have helped propel Sarina Wiegman’s team to the brink of footballing immortality as they try to win back-to-back major tournaments in consecutive summers.

Speaking from England’s base camp in the coastal town of Terrigal, the 24-year-old said: “This is the biggest game, the one you dream about, the one that means the most. It’s an incredible occasion, it’s been an unbelievable tournament and this is it. This is exactly where we want to be. We can’t wait.

“I feel like it [the momentum of the match] will hit when we’re in the tunnel and ready to walk out. Right now all I want to do is go out, put on a performance to be proud of and obviously to win.

“We started this tournament wanting to win seven games and that’s still the message. This is the last one to go and we’re really locked in. I’m sure I will look back when I’m old and grey, but right now it’s about what’s coming up and what’s there to achieve.”

Alessia Russo scores England's third goal against Australia - England vs Spain in Women's World Cup final 2023: when is it and how to watch

Russo’s goal put England out of sight in their semi-final against hosts Australia – AP/Mark Baker

Russo, who signed for Arsenal from Manchester United in July, said: “Obviously we’re all aware it’s a World Cup final but as soon as you cross the white line and the first whistle goes, it’s just a normal game. It’s what we love to do. It’s 11 v 11 and it’s a game we’ve got to win. We know our jobs, we know what we need to do. We’ll just play our game.

“Everyone is excited but we’re very relaxed and chilled. It feels like a normal game to us. It shows the composure of the team. The camp has been great from the first game until now and it feels pretty similar, it’s another game we must win.”

Nonetheless, reflecting back to when she was playing football in her local park with her brothers and friends as a young child growing up in Maidstone, Russo added: “To [now] think we’re playing in a World Cup in a couple of days is a real pinch-me moment.”

What are the odds for the World Cup final?

  • Spain 13/8

  • England 9/5

  • Draw 15/8

What are the Spanish team like?

Ranked sixth in the world, ‘La Roja’ have defeated Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Zambia and Costa Rica to reach the final, although they did also suffer a humbling 4-0 loss to Japan in the group stages.

They dominate possession

They have hogged the ball more than any other side in this tournament and enjoyed 75 per cent or more of possession in all three of their group-stage matches, even in the 4-0 defeat by Japan. They try to maintain the ball with style not unlike the approach taken by Spain’s all-conquering men’s team of 2010 that won the World Cup, in between two European Championship successes. Spain’s women are yet to win a major tournament though.

Teenage Barcelona star grabs headlines

Spain’s 19-year-old winger Salma Paralluelo has shown her qualities, having come off the substitutes’ bench to score crucial goals in their quarter-final and semi-final. Spain also have wide threats with two in-form full-backs, in Real Madrid left-back Olga Carmona – who scored the winner against Sweden – and former Manchester United right-back Ona Battle.

Unsung hero in midfield

Real Madrid midfielder Teresa Abelleira has quietly been one of Spain’s most important players and her passing statistics show she’s right up there among the very best performers. She has played the most passes into the final third of any player across this competition so far (65), ahead of England’s Alex Greenwood in second, and she also leads the way for key passes with 23.

Teresa Abelleira plays a pass against Sweden - England vs Spain in Women's World Cup final 2023: when is it and how to watch

Teresa Abelleira has been a mainstay for Spain throughout the tournament – Getty Images/Joe Allison

Star player facing fitness concerns

The Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas missed almost all of last season with an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury and has not looked to be at her best, seemingly lacking match sharpness. However, Putellas remains extremely dangerous on the ball and plays with the aura of a global superstar.

Missing some of best players

Off-field problems between head coach Jorge Vilda and many of Spain’s top players had threatened to derail their World Cup, especially last autumn when, according to Spain’s governing body, 15 of the squad had threatened to quit the team if Vilda was not axed. The players denied having made such a threat, but multiple reports that they were concerned about Vilda’s alleged methods on and off the pitch subsequently emerged.

Vilda stayed in his job, and some of the silently protesting players were recalled, but notable others remain absent, including Barcelona goalkeeper Sandra Panos, centre-back Mapi Leon and midfielder Patri Guijarro, who scored twice in June’s Champions League final.

Without players of that calibre, any squad in the world would seem weakened.

Where will the game be won and lost?

By Luke Edwards, in Sydney

Alessia Russo vs Irene Paredes

Only a few weeks ago there was a genuine debate as to whether Russo deserved to keep her place in the side but she has scored three goals at this World Cup and has formed a dangerous pairing with the rapid Lauren Hemp.

Russo’s strength and hold-up play will be key to England’s game plan but she will be up against the vastly experienced Paredes, who has been the glue at the back for Spain for more than a decade. She has helped the more error prone centre-back Laia Codina through this tournament.

Keira Walsh vs Aitana Bonmati

The Barcelona pair play exceptionally well together at club level, winning the Spanish title and the Champions League together last season. The prospect of them facing each other in a World Cup final is a mouth-watering one.

Bonmati has had the better tournament up to this point but Walsh remains the player who can make England tick in the middle of the pitch. She has been a little off-colour Down Under, but this is the perfect time to prove why she is the most expensive player in the world.

Keira Walsh in action for England against Australia - England vs Spain in Women's World Cup final 2023: when is it and how to watch
Keira Walsh will be key to England‘s chances of winning the midfield battle against Spain – AFP/Saeed Khan

Millie Bright vs Jennifer Hermoso

Bright had to ease her way back into things after a lengthy injury lay-off in the build-up to the tournament, but she is now back to her best and was immense in the narrow wins over Nigeria and Colombia in the knockout rounds.

The England captain is a magnet for the ball whenever it is crossed in the air but she will need to keep the versatile and dangerous Hermoso quiet. The 33-year-old is Spain’s record goalscorer, can play either as a number nine or a number 10 and has the ability to dribble past you in a flash with her quick feet.

When is the third-place play off?

Sweden picked up their fourth Women’s World Cup bronze medal on Saturday after beating co-hosts Australia 2-0 in the third-place playoff match at Lang Park in Brisbane.

The Swedes, ranked third in the world, were awarded a penalty in the 28th minute after a VAR review showed Australia’s Clare Hunt clipped Stina Blackstenius’ heels, and Fridolina Rolfo slotted home the resulting spot kick.

Sweden captain Kosovare Asllani doubled their lead just after the hour mark, rifling a sweet strike from the edge of the penalty area beyond goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold following another quick counter-attack.

While disappointed to sign off at the World Cup with another defeat, the Matildas still achieved their best result at the tournament having never previously gone beyond the quarter-final stage.

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