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Lionesses defeated by Spain in World Cup final

by Zoe Hodges

Two Manchester United players featured for the Lionesses in the final of the Women’s World Cup.

Mary Earps took up her position between the sticks while Ella Toone kept her place in the starting line up, despite much discussion over whether the returning Lauren James would replace her.

England looked timid, the occasion getting to them slightly, as Spain dominated in possession.

15 minutes on the clock and the game began to liven up. The Lionesses came close to taking the lead as Hemp’s shot rattled the cross bar.

Two minutes later and Mary Earps made a brilliant save to stop Spain from getting the opening goal – it was end to end.

But half an hour, in it was Spain who took the lead with a low shot into the far bottom corner. Earps was close but couldn’t get down quick enough to prevent it sneaking in.

The defence was giving the Spanish side far too much space and time on the ball, failing to close them down quickly enough.

At half time, Wiegman needed to give a big team talk and made some changes as Russo and Daly came off, with James and Kelly coming on.

Despite the changes, it was Spain who came out fighting in the second half and Earps was called into action again with a big save to keep the deficit to a minimum.

After a lengthy VAR check, a penalty was awarded to Spain. England’s players had their heads in their hands, but there was hope yet.

Earps read Hermoso well and dived the right way, saving the penalty. Could they push on and find an equaliser now?

England were playing slightly better in the second half than the first. The subs were making an impact but it seemed too little, too late.

As 13 minutes of added time began, Earps made another spectacular save but her teammates were not playing their part up front.

As we entered the final moments, a corner to England saw Earps join her teammates in the box but the delivery provided catching practice for the Spanish keeper.

And that was it – all over for the Lionesses, who had brought so much joy to the nation throughout this tournament. Still, tears fell as they were defeated at the final hurdle.

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