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The odds for Spain vs England have been taken from the FanDuel sportsbook. You can get $100 in bonus bets after betting $5.
England are the reigning European champions and they are now just one victory away from being crowned queens of world soccer. Sarina Wiegman’s women have not always set the tournament alight this summer, but they have paced themselves astutely and are now on the brink of making history.
There were plenty of grumbles back home at the start of the competition. Back-to-back 1-0 defeats of Haiti and Denmark did not exactly set pulses racing. England struggled to find their rhythm in both matches and could easily have dropped points.
They improved in time to thrash China 6-1 on matchday three, thus securing top spot in their group. But England were fortunate to get past Nigeria in the round of 16, ultimately triumphing on penalties despite being the inferior team. A 2-1 victory over Colombia in the quarter-finals was not entirely convincing either.
But England saved their best performance for when it mattered most. The semi-final against Australia was always going to be their toughest test up to that point. Sam Kerr, one of the world’s best players, was fit again for the co-hosts, who could draw on most of the support at Stadium Australia.
Yet England delivered a magnificent showing to win 3-1. They calmed down the crowd with their possession early on and were later deadly in front of goal. The Lionesses were the better team and they thoroughly deserved to progress to the final.
Wiegman has once again shown herself to be a master operator in tournament soccer. This is a coach who has won the European Championship with both the Netherlands and England, and also reached a World Cup final with both nations. That is a phenomenal record.
The Dutch, alas, were defeated in the 2019 showpiece. Can Wiegman and England get their hands on the trophy?
Rewind to 11 months ago and few would have expected Spain to be in the final of the upcoming World Cup. Fifteen players withdrew their services from the national team after alleging that the environment created by manager Jorge Vilda was impacting their mental health.
At that point it looked like the only possible outcome was for Spain and Vilda to part ways. They did not. The soccer federation that governs the game in that country stuck by their man, even though it meant numerous top players would be unavailable for selection.
The division has rumbled on, right up until this summer. Three of those 15 did return in time for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand, but the other 12 are not present. That means, by definition, Spain’s squad for the World Cup is less than full strength.
Despite that, la Roja are in the final - and the best online sportsbooks have them down as narrow favorites to lift the trophy. Spain were demolished 4-0 by Japan in the group stage, but 3-0 and 5-0 victories over Costa Rica and Zambia respectively saw them safely through.
Spain then thumped Switzerland 5-1 in the round of 16, before edging out the Netherlands in the quarters and France in the semis, both by a 2-1 scoreline. For all the off-field turmoil, the on-field performances and results have been impressive.
The squad that is in Australia is united. Even if not everyone is fully on board with Vilda’s methods, they are motivated by the chance to win the World Cup with their country. That has been enough to keep Spain going throughout the competition.
At the European Championship last year, England got the better of Spain in the quarter-finals. It was a close match with little separating the two teams, but the hosts of the tournament triumphed 2-1 after extra time.
We cannot read too much into that encounter, however. Neither side has home advantage this weekend. What’s more, both squads - England’s as well as Spain’s - have changed significantly over the last 12 months.
Spain will almost certainly have more possession than England. They have some fantastic technical players and are capable of taking the ball away from anyone.
But it is impossible not to admire England’s game intelligence, organization, and ability to stay in games. It cannot be a coincidence that the Lionesses have ridden out difficult moments of matches on a regular basis under Wiegman. They are a fiercely competitive team.
That is not at the expense of quality, of course. You cannot win a European Championship and reach a World Cup final within the space of a year if you are not an excellent soccer side.
It would not be a surprise in the slightest if the World Cup final went to extra time, which is why we prefer the ‘to lift the trophy market to the moneyline. This one is hard to call, but on balance we fancy England.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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