Spain’s Journey to Soccer Stardom

Women’s soccer is one of the fastest-growing and most exciting sports worldwide. The leading clubs across Europe, including Manchester City, Barcelona, PSG, and Bayern Munich, all boast female teams who compete for silverware across a domestic season, on the continent, and in cups. Female soccer has grown from a mere footnote to the men’s game to a standard that attracts thousands of new fans each season. Women’s football isn’t about to rival the men’s game but complements it.

The ground made by women’s soccer was shown to a global audience at the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The tournament received millions of viewers, attracting new fans and encouraging females of all ages to try soccer. For the first time in human history, girls leaving school this year see playing soccer as a viable career choice, but only if they’re good enough to compete at the top level. The cash rewards for a career in female soccer aren’t as lucrative as the men’s game, but it’s certainly headed in the right direction.

Much of female soccer’s recent success is due to this summer’s World Cup. The games attracted new viewers and helped win over the critics. It encouraged fans to purchase tickets, watch live games on television, and make predictions at apps offering sports betting in Texas. Bettors love women’s soccer as it’s fast-paced, unpredictable, and exciting. It set us up nicely for the return of the club soccer season as fans moved from supporting international sides to their beloved clubs.

2023 Women’s World Cup recap

Australia and New Zealand hosted the women’s World Cup 2023 games for precisely a month between July 20 and August 20. The hosts welcomed 32 teams from six confederations to town, with ten venues used across nine host cities, all shown live on TV and major live-streaming apps. This summer’s tournament produced 64 games and 164 goals and attracted almost 2,000,000 supporters from the first game to the final. Many newbies watched the World Cup and pledged to continue enjoying female soccer.

After a month of action, Spain played England in the World Cup final, winning by a narrow 1-0 scoreline. The winning goal came from Olga Carmona, who slotted home midway through the first half. Although England had opportunities to get level and force the contest into extra-time, the Lionesses couldn’t convert. England pushed their opponents hard but couldn’t score the goal needed to equalize and had to admit they were beaten by the better team on the day.

Sweden finished in third place by beating Australia and knocking the Aussies into a fourth-placed finish. Sweden and Australia had hoped to lift the trophy but can be proud of their achievements. Female soccer will grow in those nations due to their performances at the World Cup, and the team will be much stronger next time. Female soccer has never been in better shape and more competitive than today.

Hinata Miyazawa ended as the competition’s leading scorer with five goals, ensuring Japan didn’t exit empty-handed. The best player, voted for by pundits and players, was Spain’s Aitana Bonmati, with teammate Salma Paralluelo voted the best young player at World Cup 2023. England’s Mary Earps was the best goalkeeper, and Japan bagged the Fair Play award.

Spain suffered a slow start

Despite finishing on the top step and being crowned world champions, Spain suffered a slow start as they fell out of the traps. Added to World Cup Group C, the Spanish shared a pool with Japan, Zambia, and Costa Rica, with experts predicting they’d breeze through to the knockout stages. Most had Spain picked to win the group but didn’t bargain for Japan being the surprise package.

Group C finished with Japan in pole position following three wins from three games, scoring 11 goals and conceding zero. On the stat sheet, it’s clear the best team won the division. But top soccer players don’t hit their stride too early in major competitions, and the best way yet to come from Spain. They ended as runners-up in the pool with two wins and a defeat, scoring eight and conceding four.

Zambia dropped out at the earliest opportunity but didn’t exit in disgrace as they managed to win one of their three group games, beating rivals Costa Rica in the wooden spoon game. The African nation left with one win, two losses, three goals scored, and eleven conceded. 

Costa Rica finished fourth of four, failing to take a point from their three outings. It was three games, three defeats, one goal for, and eight against. The results were worse than expected, but few in the Costa Rica camp predicted they’d outperform Spain and Japan.

Knockout stages

After the three group games and the conclusion of the pools, the women’s World Cup moved to the knockout stages when things got serious. As runners-up in their pool, Spain played the winners of Group A, Switzerland, while Japan played the runners-up in the same bracket, Norway.

The Swiss could have been better in their group, winning one game and drawing the other two. Spain was the pre-game favorite and lived up to expectations with a decisive 5-1 victory in the round of 16. It was a show of strength from the team and a warning to their rivals. Spain showed they hadn’t hit their stride in the groups but were growing into the tournament with every game.

After thrashing the Swiss, Spain faced the Netherlands in the quarter-final stage and won again, although they were made to work for their victory. That game ended in a 2-1 victory for the battling Spaniards, who grew in confidence with every contest. And there was more of the same in the semi-finals when meeting Sweden for a place in the last two. It was another nail-biter, Spain winning 2-1.

Sports fans and the top players say the semi-final is the most challenging stage as the final takes care of itself. And that was the case for Spain as they handled the pressure better than the Lionesses. It was a competitive 90 minutes, settled by that inch-perfect goal from Carmona.

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