England vs Spain – the three key battles that could decide where the World Cup final will be won or lost
England will be looking to make history on Sunday as the Lionesses take on Spain in the World Cup final.
Beating co-hosts Australia in the semi-finals was the final hurdle Sarina Wiegman’s side overcame in a turbulent tournament for the England side.
They saw tricky opponents, came from behind when they needed to, fought ten players after a sending off and even won a penalty shootout along the way.
Now the final test will see England take on Spain, who surprised many by securing the final.
Here, Mail Sport takes a look at three key battles where the final could be won or lost.
The Lionesses hope to celebrate by beating Spain in the World Cup final on Sunday
Georgia Stanway vs Aitana Bonmati
Barcelona midfielder Bonmati is Spain’s creative spark and will look to dictate play in midfield. It’s up to Stanway to try to stop him from playing.
Spain are at their best when Bonmati is on the ball and setting the pace, so it’s up to England midfielders, Stanway in particular, to ensure his influence on the game is limited.
The Lionesses need to make sure Bommati doesn’t have the time and space to shake things up, but also need to be wary that the 25-year-old has the ability to step forward and score on her own .
The midfield battle between Barcelona’s Bonmati (right) and Bayern’s Stanway will be key
Rachel Daly vs. Alba Redondo
Redondo was the Spanish league’s top scorer last season and will be looking to exploit England’s left flank. Daly (left) performed well at the back but it was against Spain at Euro 2022 that she had a torrid moment by Athenea del Castillo.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Spain were looking to send the ball to Redondo, 26, as much as possible as they would think they had beaten Daly.
Daly has the protection of an extra cross behind her but will need to stay disciplined.
England’s left flank could be an area to exploit for Spain in the final, with Redondo a huge threat
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Lauren Hemp vs. Laia Codina
Hemp has been England’s best player recently and will be looking to get behind Spain’s centre-backs. Codina, 23, did not start in any of Spain’s group games but was brought into the squad after being beaten 4-0 by Japan.
She has started every single knockout game and is expected to join Arsenal from Barcelona for the upcoming season.
Codina is slower than center back partner Irene Paredes and Hemp will be looking to use her speed to cause trouble.
Lauren Hemp has improved with every game and will look to continue her form in the final