The Women's World Cup semifinals have concluded and the two teams fighting for the title have been revealed: Spain and England will meet in a clash of two European heavyweights, both of whom have never previously made the tournament's greatest showpiece event.
La Roja has been one of the tournament's most exciting sides, with its high-possession, high-scoring style. A huge wake-up call was delivered in the side's 4-0 loss to Japan in the final group stage game, but the Iberian nation has been unstoppable since, defeating Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden along the way to the final.
In its semifinal against the Blågult, Spain shocked a team which vanquished the all-powerful US women's squad.
Teenager Salma Paralluelo seemed to have won it for Spain with an 81st-minute strike which broke the deadlock, only for Sweden to level with a brilliant goal from Rebecka Blomqvist in the 88th minute.
But with extra-time looming, Spain’s response was ruthless and immediate. Saving the best goal until last, Olga Carmona found the back of the net with a sublime effort from the edge of the box just 94 seconds after Sweden had made it 1-1.
Competing at just its third World Cup, Spain is now within a game of winning the sport’s biggest prize having never before progressed beyond the round of 16.
Find out more how Spain beat Sweden to make the final here.
The Lionesses have had up-and-down performances this tournament, opening with two relatively unimpressive 1-0 wins against Haiti and Denmark in the group stage before before thrashing China 6-1.
England then struggled mightily against Nigeria – which arguably deserved to win the match over 120 minutes – winning on penalties but losing star Lauren James to a red card and subsequent two-match ban for a stamp on the Super Falcons' Michelle Alozie. A 2-1 comeback victory in the quarterfinals against Colombia led England to the huge match against the co-host in Sydney.
Ella Toone’s first-half goal gave England a deserved lead, before Australia superstar Sam Kerr produced a long-range stunner to draw the sides level in the second half.
But Ellie Carpenter’s error in defense allowed Lauren Hemp to restore England’s lead, before Alessia Russo ended Australia’s hopes with a goal on the counterattack as the Matildas went in search of an equalizer.
Find out more how England made history in a 3-1 win over Australia here.
England star Ella Toone thinks her first-half goal against Australia was "the best shot I've ever hit in my life."
The attacking midfielder drilled the ball into the top corner to give the Lionesses a 1-0 lead in the semifinal – a crucial time to score your first goal of the tournament.
"I enjoyed that one to be fair – probably the best shot I’ve ever hit in my life," said Toone, according to FIFA.
"I’m just glad it went in the back of the net. Any way I can help the team succeed and get the win is what I’ll do. The ball fell to me in a great position and I just struck it and it hit nicely."
Despite taking an early lead, England had to dig deep to defeat Australia after Sam Kerr tied the game with a rocket-like strike of her own in the second half.
Further goals from Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo, however, wrapped up the victory for the European champion.
"We had everything today – grit, determination, character and belief.
"I think that’s the main thing: we always have belief, we always believe in ourselves, we always believe in the team. It was just an exciting game and we stuck to the game plan really well."
A long evening for fans just keeps getting longer.
After watching England's 3-1 victory against Australia, many are faced with long queues at train stations as they make their way home from Sydney's Stadium Australia.
Cheers have been erupting as each train pulls into the platform. Some people are standing wall to wall, some are sitting on steps, and others are sleeping.
There is only one train station near the stadium. Some opted to walk 20 minutes to another nearby station, only to be told that there were no trains.
One mother, aged 72, and her son are trying to get from Sydney to Newcastle and think they may get home by 4 a.m. local time.
Hardly ideal when the game wrapped up around 10 p.m. Australia time.
Australia's head coach Tony Gustavsson was left to rue his team's missed chances during the 3-1 defeat against England, while also acknowledging his players' efforts.
"I feel for so many tonight when you look at this," said Gustavsson, according to FIFA.
"The players left it all out there. I think that’s why the fans are thanking them ... England was clinical tonight. We had a chance for 2-2. A couple of minutes later they scored [for] 3-1. It’s one of those games, unfortunately.”
Despite the defeat, Gustavsson has overseen Australia's best-ever run at a World Cup – men's or women's. The team will next contest a third-place playoff match against Sweden on Saturday.
Asked about the support from the home crowd in Sydney, he said: “I am proud, but I’m also sad that we could have made them even prouder tonight with a win.”
Despite counting for nothing in the end, Sam Kerr's stunning equalizer for Australia will live long in the memory.
The thunderous strike seemed like the result of all the frustration she has felt at this year's World Cup – which, in truth, hasn't really gone to plan.
As an isolated moment, though, Kerr will do well to ever produce anything as special.
When asked whether it was the best goal of her career, a dejected Kerr told reporters: "I don’t know, that’s for you guys to judge, not me.
"It felt pretty good at the time but not now."
Kerr was locked in a brilliant battle with defender Millie Bright throughout the semifinal and the England star paid tribute to the Matildas striker's brilliance.
"I have a huge amount of respect for Sam and I've wanted her shirt for a long time," Bright told reporters, wearing Kerr's match-worn jersey.
"She's not an easy player to keep quiet. You see she gets one chance and it's in the back of the net."
England's 3-1 victory against Australia comes with a royal seal of approval.
Prince William, who is president of England's Football Association, has joined a nation in celebrating the country's first appearance in a Women's World Cup final.
"What a phenomenal performance from the @Lionesses – on to the final!" William said in a post from Kensington Palace on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"Commiserations to @TheMatildas, you've played brilliantly and been fantastic co-hosts of this World Cup."
Sam Kerr's unbelievable goal in the second-half will be remembered as one of the finest moments of this tournament.
Straight after Kerr's long-range equalizer, the crowd came to life in Sydney as Australian fans started to believe that a place in the final was within their team's grasp.
"We can’t thank the fans enough, they've been amazing," the striker said after the eventual 3-1 defeat.
"We felt the love all over the country. Just to see the support we’ve had has really pushed us on. Hopefully, this stays around because this has been amazing for us."
More than 75,000 fans packed into Stadium Australia for the semifinal – a sure sign that the Matildas have captured the hearts of a nation over the course of this tournament.
England's Sarina Wiegman knows a thing or two about success at major tournaments.
Following Wednesday's semifinal win, she became the first coach, male or female, to reach a World Cup final with two different nations – having already done so with the Netherlands in 2019.
She lost against the US four years ago, but will be hoping to go one better with her impressive Lionesses.
"I never take anything for granted but I’m like, 'Am I in the middle of a fairytale or something?,'” she told the BBC after the game.
Wiegman has now reached the final of four major tournaments – having also won the European Championships with both England and the Netherlands.
She credits her success to hard work and praised her England team for being so determined.
"I think with this team, there’s ruthlessness," she said.
"Whether it’s up front or in defense, we really want to keep the ball out of the net, we really want to win. And we stick together and we stick to the plan. And it worked again."
Sarina Wiegman spoke to CNN about the secrets of her success ahead of the World Cup. Read more about her incredible career here.
Sunday's game against Spain will be England's first Women's World Cup final and the country's first World Cup final – men's or women's – since winning the men's title in 1966.
Victory in this tournament would also mark the team's second major trophy in 13 months, having won the women's European Championships on home soil last year.
"We played how we wanted to, we were determined, resilient," England defender Lucy Bronze told the BBC after the 3-1 semifinal victory against Australia. "We knew the crowd would be crazy and we talked about silencing them and, at the end, we did that.
"We all dreamed of being in the final. All our family and friends have booked to stay here until then because they all believed in us. It's been amazing to play against Australia, in Australia. What a fantastic tournament they had, but we're in the final."
Can the Lionesses now go the whole way with a win against La Roja?
"Yeah, why not?" goalscorer Alessia Russo also told the BBC.
"Obviously, Spain's going to be even tougher. I think every single game that we've [played] this tournament has been of the highest level, so we have to be ready.
"But we've been dreaming since we were little girls. We're excited, we'll get recovered and be ready."
Spain are -120 favorites to lift the trophy, with England listed at -105. Before you lock in your England vs. Spain picks or 2023 Women's World Cup final predictions, you need to see what proven SportsLine soccer expert Martin Green has to say.Who won Women's World Cup semi final 2023? ›
These were the updates from the Women's World Cup semifinal between Australia and England on August 16, 2023. England beat Australia 3-1 in Sydney to reach their first ever Women's World Cup final and end the co-hosts captivating run. The Lionesses will face Spain in the final on Sunday.How many people watched the Women's World Cup final 2023? ›
The Women's World Cup final between England and Spain on Sunday was watched by a peak audience of 12 million viewers on BBC One. The final was also viewed 3.9 million times on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app. Overall, an audience of 21.2 million watched the BBC's television coverage of the tournament.Where is the Women's World Cup 2023 semi final? ›
England beat co-hosts Australia 3-1 in Sydney on Wednesday (16 August) to reach the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup final. The Lionesses will face Spain in the final on Sunday. Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp, and Alessia Russo scored England's goals in the semi-final at Stadium Australia, where the Sydney 2000 Olympics were held.Who is predicted to win Women's World Cup? ›
Spain are 4/5 favourites to win the Women's World Cup, with England priced at 19/20 ahead of the final in Sydney on Sunday (kick-off, 11am).What is the best team in the World Cup 2023? ›
Spain walked away with top honors while England, Sweden and Australia earned the right to play the maximum of seven matches, but it was a tournament that didn't seem to have viewers' collective attention owned by any one team.What teams are in the semi finals Women's World Cup? ›
Women's World Cup semifinals schedule 2023
The first two quarterfinal winners, Spain and Sweden, met in one semifinal in Auckland, New Zealand, and the other two QF winners, Australia and England, met in the other semi held in Sydney, Australia.
The nine FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments have been won by five national teams. The United States have won four times. The other winners are Germany, with two titles, and Japan, Norway, and Spain with one title each.Which teams are in the Women's World Cup final? ›
SYDNEY -- Spain are the new Women's World Cup champions, beating England 1-0 at Stadium Australia to become first-time winners.How many times has Spain won the Women's World Cup? ›
In the 2023 World Cup, Spain won their first World Cup title, defeating England 1–0 in the final.
SYDNEY, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Spain defeated England 1-0 in the Women's World Cup final on Sunday, capping off a tournament that has broken attendance and TV records and raised hopes of a surge in interest for the women's game.Has Spain won the Women's World Cup? ›
The Spain women's national football team has represented Spain at the FIFA Women's World Cup on three occasions, in 2015, 2019 and 2023. Their victory at the 2023 edition of the tournament made Spain the second nation, after Germany, to have won world titles in both men's and women's football.How can I watch the World Cup semi final? ›
The BBC is the only place to watch both semi-finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023. The tournament, with shock exits and unforgettable moments, continues exclusively on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on the 15 and 16 of August.How can I watch the women's World Cup final? ›
Women's World Cup Final 2023 on TV and BBC iPlayer
Full coverage of the Women's World Cup Final begins on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 9.45am on Sunday ahead of the 11am kick-off.
The Lionesses will face Spain for a third time under Sarina Wiegman, having previously played out a goalless draw in the Arnold Cup (February 2022) and then beating them at the quarter-final stage of last year's EUROs (2-1). The #Lionesses will be back in blue for the #FIFAWWC final.Who is Favourite England or Spain? ›
Spain vs England odds for 2023 Women's World Cup final
Spain are slight favourites, but the odds are essentially even.
Spain is listed as the favorite to win the World Cup, with +166 moneyline odds compared to England's +185.Who is the favorite for the Gold Cup 2023? ›
The Cheltenham Gold Cup betting 2023 has Galopin Des Champs as clear favourite, such an unlucky faller in the Turners Novices Chase here twelve months' ago.What odds are Spain to win the World Cup? ›
Spain is +173 to win the World Cup, and England is +178. The over/under for this match is 2.5 goals, with the over at +121 and the under at -161. Bet on the result of Spain vs.