After four weeks of excellent entertainment in Australia and New Zealand, we find ourselves with our finalists for the big game on Sunday, Spain vs. England. It is the first time that both these teams have made it to the final and this is also the first time that a final will be played between two European teams, and we’ve obviously got you covered with a preview and a huge selection of odds on the final.
The USA were favourites at the start of the tournament and Australia really grew into it as their home support roared them on, but it isn’t much of a surprise that two of the favourites have made it this far.
SPAIN – WHAT TO EXPECT
There isn’t much to choose between the two teams but Spain go into this match with the record of top goalscorers in the tournament with 17 goals so far. Their attacking play and firepower has got them most of the opponents so far, although they took a beating against Japan. It was a struggle in the semi-final against Sweden, with an 89th minute winner required. Despite things going so well for the Spanish on the field, it has not been plain sailing off it as there have been many distractions behind the scenes. The players have been in an ongoing battle with their own manager and the Spanish Football Federation, which has been far from ideal and is also yet to be resolved, despite this important event coming up. Spain will need to put that to the back of their minds if they are to get the better of an opponent whom they have a poor record against. England knocked Spain out last year at the quarter-final stage on their way to becoming European champions, and the Spanish have only won two of their last eleven meetings. This is the ultimate chance to get one over their opponents though, as there is no bigger stage than this.
Watch out for: Salma Paralluelo have already scored two important goals for Spain during the tournament. Can she do it again?
ENGLAND – WHAT TO EXPECT
England faced a very tough opponent in the semi-finals as they had to get the better of host nation Australia. The final score was 3-1 but Australia pushed them all the way and had many chances to score, on another day it might be them taking part in this final. England held their nerve though, despite the huge crowd backing Australia. Now that they have made it to the final, England will be hoping to achieve something that only Germany have managed in the women’s game. A win here will make them only the second team to be European and World Champions at the same time. Their success at home last season has really boosted the team and the women’s game as a whole in England. Manager Sarina Wiegman has an extraordinary record since taking over as England manager, with 30 wins and only one defeat from the 38 matches she has taken charge of. She has now reached the final of all four major tournaments she has managed in. Her record so far is two times European champion, one with England and one with Holland and a runners-up medal with her home nation on the world stage 4 years ago. This time around she will be determined to go one better and turn that runners up medal into a winners one. England’s success this time out has been built on their defence, with only three goals conceded so far, if they manage to continue that they will stand a good chance of beating Spain.
Watch out for: Will Lauren James be given another chance here after her sending off? She scored a few screamers early in the tournament before her red card meant she missed 2 matches.
These two teams have played each other eleven times so far and England have won six of those encounters, including the last meeting. Spain have two wins to their name and the remaining three have been drawn. This is a tough one to call, but both teams are deserving finalists and we hope for a match that will bring what has been a highly entertaining tournament to a satisfying end.