Although my long=shot favorite team Colombia is out of contention for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, it will be an exciting final: England versus Spain.
The noise was giddy, and gleeful, and just a little bit wild, as if the 75,000 fans who had packed into Stadium Australia could not believe quite how perfectly it had all turned out. They did not know it would not last, of course; at that point, the very idea it might not felt remote, absurd. In that moment, the noise seemed to ripple and crackle with magic.
Australia will not win this World Cup. That honor, instead, will fall to one of Europe’s two new powerhouses: Spain, narrow victors against Sweden on Tuesday, and England, conqueror of the Matildas — winning by 3-1, but no more comfortably — on Wednesday. On some level, though, this tournament has belonged to Australia.
For three weeks, the Matildas have held the country in the palm of their hands. Australia was captivated by the team’s brush with despair in the group phase. It was enthralled by its composed demolition of Denmark in the round of 16. The whole place seemed to hold its breath for the duration of the quarterfinal victory against France. The nation soared with every exhilarating high, and it suffered in each moment of exquisite tension.
Choose your team: the Matildas or the Phoebes.
Here are the highlights of England’s 3-1 victory over Australia:
. . . and Spain’s victory over Sweden (I hope these show up as we can’t access YouTube in the islands: