Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
The Seven Nation Army anthem boomed through loudspeakers with such drawn-out grandeur it resembled the Game of Thrones score. Someone will die here tonight. The boos erupting from the stands at the sight of Jorge Vilda on the big screen suggested it might be him. The Spain coach is not popular.
The discontent led to a mutiny last year. Some stars have since returned, done a deal with the devil in return for a trophy. But the collective disdain for the man at the helm has been the subject of viral social media material this tournament. When Olga Carmona scored in the 29th minute, nobody went to him to celebrate.
Compare that to his counterpart, Sarina Wiegman. Beloved by all who draw breath. Who, across her posts overseeing the Netherlands and England, has now lost only two games at major tournaments – the 2019 and 2023 World Cup finals. Who, before this match, had been beaten just once over the course of her two-year England tenure – by Australia in a friendly. And who has coached different countries to consecutive European Championships, and guided an England side to a World Cup final for the first time since 1966.
Unfortunately for Wiegman, she was Catelyn Stark at this Red Wedding. A picture of sophistication, firm leadership and tactical nous, ultimately slain by a swarm of crimson shirts.
This all sounds bloody and violent, yet in the flesh it was something to marvel.
England, with their grit and grind, have motored through opposition with little fuss and not much flourish. A bit like a robotic vacuum cleaner, but an expensive one that doesn’t make a lot of noise. Getting a touch clogged by a Sam Kerr wonder goal but sucking up the other bits easily enough.
Spain lift the World Cup trophy.Credit: Getty
Spain have been Spain, playing out from the back with such ease the midfield is sliced apart before the other team even realises it hurts. By the time the pain arrives, Carmona has already laced home her finish.
There were a lot of neutrals in the stands. There had to have been – the tickets went on sale eons ago. But still the “Espana” chants came from the throng cloaked in red and yellow flags near the tunnel.
Mostly, though, the English diaspora were out in force, cheering when Lauren James was introduced after half-time, booing in unison when Spain were awarded a penalty and exploding into gleeful whoops when Mary Earps saved Jenni Hermoso’s spot-kick. Wiegman barely moved the entire time.
A Mexican wave did the rounds as Alex Greenwood’s head was wrapped in a bandage, and as regular time ticked down screams of “shoot!” rang out around Stadium Australia.
Just shy of two million have attended 64 matches in the past month. It is about half a million more than projected, which is a way of saying that this World Cup has been even more successful than hoped.
That is the numerical definition, but there is another less contingent on figures. This World Cup has revealed every Colombian living in Australia, made known every Japanese, made us all feel things for Haiti and Jamaica and Morocco.
That the players were women and not men meant that the record crowds and TV metrics marked a moment in time for the people in suits who control the cash and other important things above our pay grades.
But the actual moments themselves were just a lot of people, from different parts of the world, coming together to watch good football – and the odd massacre.
News, results and expert analysis from the weekend of sport sent every Monday. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.
Most Viewed in Sport
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article