Special Event: 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup: The Final!
August 19, 2023 11:03 PM - Subscribe

736 players, 163 goals, 63 games, 32 teams, 2 host countries, and it'll all come down to 1 champion.

Spain started their campaign with mixed results; they cruised past Zambia and Costa Rica but were shocked by a 4-0 loss to Japan that helped put Hinata Miyazawa in the lead for the Golden Boot (Lauren James, Aitana Bonmatí and Jenni Hermoso could pass her by scoring two goals; Alba Redondo, and Lauren Hemp need two goals and an assist).

After making the round of 16 in second place, they proceeded to lay a beatdown on the Swiss, followed by youngster Salma Paralluelo coming off the bench in successive games to break Dutch and Swedish hearts with end-of-game comeback killers.

The Lionesses of England had an easier go of it in their group stage, beating Haiti and Denmark 1-0, then facing off against China and demolishing them; Lauren James ran an absolute clinic, with two goals and three assists, leaving people wondering if there was anyone who's ass this wonder kid couldn't kick.

After a tense 0-0 game with Nigeria ended after extra time, Chloe Kelly's thunder strike put the team through at the end of penalties. Colombia took a lead late in the first half, but a mad goalline scramble put England equal even later in the first half, winning it with a lovely Alessia Russo goal. And then, in the semi-finals, they beat an Australia side with the crowd at its back; it briefly looked like it was going to be the Sam Kerr game, but the Lionesses took back the momentum to finish off the hosts.

And so it comes down to this: 90 minutes (or more?), 22 players, 1 ball and eternal glory. Will La Roja take it for Spain? Is it, as they say, coming home with the Lionesses? Let's find out!

_🇨🇭SUI 1_                         2023 WOMENS WORLD CUP                        _2 AUS🇦🇺_
  5th    \_🇪🇸ESP 2_                  KNOCKOUT STAGE                  p0 AUS🇦🇺_/    7th  
_🇪🇸ESP 5_/         \                                                /         \_0 DEN🇩🇰_
             11th   \_🇪🇸ESP 2__             ⚽            _1 AUS🇦🇺_/   12th          
_🇳🇱NED 2_           /          \                          /         \           _4 FRA🇫🇷_
  6th    \_🇳🇱NED 1_/            \                        /           \_0 FRA🇫🇷_/    8th 
_🇿🇦RSA 0_/                       \                      /                      \_0 MAR🇲🇦_
                     15th Aug     \__🇪🇸ESP_ 🏆 _ENG🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿󠁧__/   16th Aug               
_🇯🇵JPN 3_                         /                    \                        p0 ENG🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿_
  5th    \_🇯🇵JPN 1_              /      20th Aug        \             _2 ENG🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿󠁧_/    7th  
_🇳🇴NOR 1_/         \            /                        \           /         \_0 NGA🇳🇬_
             11th   \_🇸🇪SWE 1__/                          \_3 ENG🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿󠁧__/    12th          
_🇸🇪SWE 0p           /                                              \           _1 COL🇨🇴_
  6th    \_🇸🇪SWE 2_/                                                \_1 COL🇨🇴_/    8th  
_🇺🇸USA 0_/                     All dates in AUS/NZ time                       \_0 JAM🇯🇲_
posted by Superilla (31 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Don't get me wrong, I think I'm mostly a neutral, but looking back has any team made the finals of a major tournament by knocking out as many exciting, good-vibes underdogs consecutively as England has this year? In a related note, colonizers-over-colonized has been a remarkably good metric, which I suppose meant an England vs. Spain final was almost inevitable.
posted by Superilla at 11:19 PM on August 19, 2023 [1 favorite]

Superilla: has any team made the finals of a major tournament by knocking out as many exciting, good-vibes underdogs consecutively as England has this year?

Traditionally that has been the role of Germany in the men’s game (and West-Germany before that), exemplified by keeping Poland from reaching the final in 1974, France in 1982 and 1986, and the US and South Korea in 2002.

I think what makes England’s progress to the final annoying this year is that they were an exciting team when they won the euros last year, but now they’ve nearly gone full West-Germany-in-the-80s in their playing style (with the important caveat that nobody’s taunted an opposition player they’ve hospitalized and neither has the team contested a match called the Disgrace of anything). I’ve watched most of their matches this year and I can barely remember anything beyond the goals. They’re much more focused on disrupting their opponents rather than play in their own style.

All that uncharitable grumbling aside, they’ve performed well, and if they win the title, nobody will doubt they deserved it, and their fans will have plenty of good memories.
posted by Kattullus at 12:20 AM on August 20, 2023

Spain. That is all
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 1:34 AM on August 20, 2023 [2 favorites]

Come on England! I know they are unlikely to be many people's second-favourite team, but that’s OK.

Apart from anything else, I feel like there’s a real step up from being a team that wins one tournament, especially at home, to being a team that wins two in a row. And if we can learn anything from the men’s team, it’s that you have to take these opportunities when they appear, because it may be decades before they come along again.

Especially if the historically weaker nations keep improving at the current rate.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:04 AM on August 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

None of which matters of course if Salma Paralluelo gets on a hot streak and rips us apart, which I’m slightly worried she might do.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:31 AM on August 20, 2023

Looks like England are sticking with Hemp and Russo over James, which makes sense to me - why mess with a working set up?
posted by biffa at 2:50 AM on August 20, 2023

Superilla, can I just say thanks for doing such a great job of posting the rounds in Fanfare! The ASCII style draw has been a really useful innovation and content has been pitched just right. Thanks for taking it on and getting it spot on.
posted by biffa at 2:54 AM on August 20, 2023 [7 favorites]


Bright looked so focussed coming out of the tunnel, so imperious even, she could have been West German.
posted by biffa at 2:59 AM on August 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

20 minutes: good chances at both ends, back and forth. This is worth waking up at 4 am for!
posted by Superilla at 3:22 AM on August 20, 2023 [2 favorites]

Proper end to end.

Also, how was that body check not a yellow card?
posted by MattWPBS at 3:26 AM on August 20, 2023

Fuck. Good goal.
posted by MattWPBS at 3:31 AM on August 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

Goal for Olga!

Paralluelo versus Bright has been an aggressive match up today.

I like this young Spanish team, but I don't like their coach. And Alexei Lalas being insufferable about how he finds England insufferable is enough to make me want to root for them. So I'm officially neutral.
posted by the primroses were over at 3:31 AM on August 20, 2023 [2 favorites]

Paralluelo looking really quick and dangerous but maybe should have planted a second goal for Spain rather than try to pass across the goal. England"s tactic of calming things down and passing back is not working at all, all our threats are on the break, once Spain have 11 players in front of England all the passing lanes are getting shut down.
posted by biffa at 3:54 AM on August 20, 2023

This is worth waking up at 4 am for!

Ouch. 11am pub drinking here.
posted by biffa at 4:00 AM on August 20, 2023

The studio analysis team here thought Chloe Kelly had the speed to take on the Spanish, interesting to see her and James come on.
posted by Superilla at 4:03 AM on August 20, 2023

James and Kelly on, Wiegman switching it up. Needed for sure.
posted by MattWPBS at 4:04 AM on August 20, 2023

International commentary notes that Millie Bright turns "the big 3 0" tomorrow, then notes that England are lucky it's not 3-0.
posted by Superilla at 4:23 AM on August 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

Pretty much, Spain are playing better.

Saying that, fucking Earps. ♥️
posted by MattWPBS at 4:28 AM on August 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

What a great save by Earps. I wouldn't mind another half an hour of this.
posted by Superilla at 4:38 AM on August 20, 2023

Glad to see Greenwood seems okay. Going to be a fair bit of added time for that and the penalty VAR.
posted by MattWPBS at 4:43 AM on August 20, 2023

Trying to be objective, but to me the referee isn't having the best game.
posted by MattWPBS at 4:45 AM on August 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

I mean, Paralluelo shouldn't even be on the pitch now.
posted by MattWPBS at 4:54 AM on August 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

Fuckity fuck. Didn't deserve to get anything out of that, but still.

'Grats to Spain.
posted by MattWPBS at 5:04 AM on August 20, 2023

Hard to say that the best team didn't win that one. England just looked unable to come up with answers and if anything 0-1 flattered them. So tough for them. Good on Spain, but it sucks that some crappy dudes are being rewarded on the back of their great women.
posted by Superilla at 5:14 AM on August 20, 2023 [3 favorites]

Spain deserved that one, but England should be proud of their tournament.

Congratulations to the Spanish players, and absolutely no one else involved in their federation!
posted by the primroses were over at 5:15 AM on August 20, 2023 [3 favorites]

In other news, congrats to Miyazawa on being the youngest golden boot winner since Marta, and I like Queen Letizia's suit.
posted by the primroses were over at 5:37 AM on August 20, 2023 [2 favorites]


Well played, Spain.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 5:45 AM on August 20, 2023

Due to an absolutely catastrophic scheduling mix-up I had to rush out of the house with my daughter minutes before the match started and take her to meet people in a park with very poor reception, so I missed the final and was updated with the occasional text message from my wife. Having watched nearly every game of the tournament, except for the ones in the middle of my night, this was a huge anticlimax.
posted by Kattullus at 6:49 AM on August 20, 2023

What a great game! As of now, Peacock says the replay will be available for 28(!) days. Both teams played so well and cleanly. Japan's defeat of Spain (4-0) looks even stranger than it did at the time.
posted by kingless at 7:34 AM on August 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

Depressing how a tournament with the most extraordinary feats from the most extraordinary women ends with a stage full of the most grimly mediocre men being grimly mediocre.
posted by Superilla at 6:02 PM on August 20, 2023 [3 favorites]

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