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Matildas tactic comes back to bite England as Spain wins Women's World Cup

Football fans had little sympathy for England considering some of their gamesmanship in the semi-final against Australia.

Spain and England, pictured here after the Matildas finished fourth.

Spain's victory in the Women's World Cup final has left a sour taste in the mouths of English football fans, who were left fuming at the time-wasting and a number of refereeing decisions on Sunday night. Spain became the first country to win both the men's and women's World Cups after they took down England 1-0 on Sunday night in Sydney.

Olga Carmona's venomous left-footed strike in the 29th minute delivered Spain the lead, before Mary Earps pulled off a brilliant save from Jenni Hermoso's 69th-minute penalty to keep European champions England alive. But Spain, whose entire campaign has been overshadowed by last year's player revolt and a subsequent cloud hanging over coach Jorge Vilda, held on in front of 75,784 fans at Stadium Australia to claim football immortality.

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However the win was marred by ugly scenes as Spanish players continually hit the deck late in the match in an apparent attempt to waste time. England fans were also left seething that Salma Paralluelo wasn't sent off for kicking the ball away, with referee Tori Penso appearing to rethink her initial decision to dish out a second yell card - which would have resulted in a red.

Spain players and staff, pictured here after beating England in the Women's World Cup final.
Spain players and staff celebrate after beating England in the Women's World Cup final. (Photo by Chris Putnam/Future Publishing via Getty Images) (Future Publishing via Getty Imag)

Just as we saw when England beat the Matildas in the semi-final, fans were up in arms about the amount of time wasting going on, and the fact American referee Penso didn't do anything about it. There were 13 minutes of injury time added onto the end of the match on Sunday night, but viewers couldn't believe Penso didn't add even more due to the gamesmanship on display from some of the Spanish players.

However Australian fans felt like it was karma biting England after they pulled the same ploy against the Matildas in the semi. "Spain doing to England what England did to our Matildas," one fan wrote.

Another commented: "The English complaining about Spain’s time wasting tactics as if they didn’t get away with milking every single second off the clock against the Matildas." Others labelled the tactics "pathetic" and an "absolute joke".

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Spain's triumph condemned England boss Sarina Wiegman to a second consecutive final defeat after she also lost the decider while coaching the Netherlands against the USA in 2019. Wiegman is the only manager to lose two Women's World Cup finals.

"We gave our everything, we did everything we could," she said. "We tried different tactics but I have to give credit to Spain. I think that Spain was the team throughout the tournament that played the best football.

"I'm just hurt about this moment. Losing a game and in a final, when you're in a final you want to win it. I guess you mean because it's a second final, I don't see it (like that), this was a different game, a different team.

"I was totally convinced before the game that it would be a very tight game but we were confident that we were able to win it. I hope in the future I get a new moment with the team I work with, that would be amazing, because it's very special to play finals."

England players, pictured here after their loss to Spain in the Women's World Cup final.
England players look on after their loss to Spain in the Women's World Cup final. (Photo by Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images) (PA Images via Getty Images)

Jorge Vilda overcomes Spanish player mutiny

Vilda's triumph as Spanish manager comes after 15 players waked away from the national team, citing concerns over under-investment and Vilda's allegedly authoritarian approach to management. Only three of those players have returned.

Spain's football federation posted a photo of Vilda kissing the trophy with the caption "VILDA IN". He later told Spanish media: "I am proud of this team, very happy for all the people who are following us, that we have made them happy. We have shown that we know how to suffer, this team has believed and we are world champions."

with AAP

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