England’s wait to win a first Women’s World Cup title goes on after Spain deservedly triumphed in the final in Sydney.
The Lionesses, looking to become the first England senior side since the men’s team in 1966 to win the World Cup, suffered heartbreak after being outplayed by a Spanish side full of flair and creativity.
England’s players fell to their knees in tears at the final whistle as Spain celebrated inside their penalty area after dealing with a final corner kick in the 14th minute of nerve-wracking stoppage time.
Spain captain Olga Carmona slotted the winner past goalkeeper Mary Earps in the first half, capitalising after England’s Lucy Bronze lost possession in midfield.
England manager Sarina Wiegman, who has now lost two successive World Cup finals, introduced Lauren James and Chloe Kelly at half-time but Spain maintained control despite the Lionesses’ best efforts.
Earps, who won the Golden Glove award as best goalkeeper at the tournament, made several stunning saves, none better than from the penalty spot to deny Jenni Hermoso in the second half.
The Manchester United stopper moved early to her left and caught Hermoso’s effort, the penalty having being awarded for handball against midfielder Keira Walsh following a lengthy video assistant referee review.
But it was one step too far for the European champions, who lost just their second match in two years under Wiegman.
Spain are crowned champions for the first time despite going into the tournament under a cloud of controversy following a dispute between players and the Spanish football federation.