Women’s World Cup Final – Spain vs England Preview & Betting Tips: Goals Anticipated

Alessia RussoEngland take on Spain in the Women’s Football World Cup Final at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium in Australia (11am Sunday; TV: Live on BBC1 & ITV1). One thing is for certain, a first-time champion will be crowned. Can the Lionesses do it? Or will the Spanish roar louder? This match preview, with its betting tips, aims to answer that.

Spain were always likely to make it out of a group containing the likes of Costa Rica and Zambia. Their opening game against the Costa Ricans proved to be relatively straightforward for the ladies in red, who brushed aside inferior opposition. Showing their full repertoire of forward-thinking football, the Spanish put the game to bed inside the first 45 minutes. It was a similar story against the Zambians on match-day two, as Jorge Vilda’s team shifted through the gears, scoring five goals on their way to securing another simple win.

A much-changed side lost to Japan on match-day three, but they had already secured their qualification. It became clear that their largely rested first team was not to be messed with during the early knockout rounds, as they thrashed a usually sturdy Norwegian side by five goals to one. They then edged out a very good Netherlands side in the quarter-finals, showing that they can battle as well as outplay teams. Last time out, their final-third class just about told as they beat the defiant Swedes.

For the Lionesses, it has been a bit of a slow burner. They got the better of the Haitians on match-day one thanks to a sturdy effort, but failed to impress offensively, while that was once again the case as they beat the Danes by a goal to nil on match-day two, though they again showed their battling qualities. A match against the Chinese on match-day three provided Sarina Wiegman’s players with the opportunity to improve offensively, and they did.

After thumping China, the Lionesses were expected to kick on in the knockouts, though they laboured their way to a shootout win over Nigeria having drawn 0-0, before relying on a slice of luck to beat a feisty Colombian team in the quarters.

A couple of underwhelming efforts left the English looking vulnerable ahead of a semi-final with tournament hosts Australia, but they delivered a timely performance to stun the home side. They displayed both defensive strength and attacking quality, as the likes of Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo tormented an Aussie back-line that just couldn’t handle the combination of constant pressure and offensive quality.

Familiar foes

These two teams have played against each other twice since the start of 2022, so there shouldn’t be too many secrets, while many of the players likely to be involved in this game either play together or against each other on a regular basis domestically.

When the pair last met in July of last year, they drew 1-1 in the quarter-finals of the European Championships, before England emerged victorious after extra-time thanks to a timely strike from Georgia Stanway, who is yet to really hit her stride at this tournament. Perhaps she has saved her best for the final. Earlier in 2022, the pair drew 0-0 in the Arnold Clark Cup, so they are used to playing out tight games.

Spain vs England Women: Bet on both to score

Looking at the betting odds with the major UK bookmakers ahead of this game, we can see that there is very little between the pair in terms of the Win/Draw/Win market, which is probably about right. There is a lot to like about both, so the fact that neither are considered a strong favourite is a fair reflection.

At the current prices, the bet that does stand out, though, is ‘Both Teams to Score’. The Spanish have looked incredibly threatening all throughout the tournament. They create chances with their intricate and clever build-up play, while they have got no shortage of end-product with the likes of Aitana Bonmatia, Jennifer Hermoso and Alba Maria Redondo Ferrer, all of whom have three goals each in Australia, in their ranks.

England haven’t been as consistent from an offensive point of view and have definitely underwhelmed at times, but their poor performances have come against very physical, defensively rigid teams such as Haiti and Nigeria. That’s not what the Spanish are about.

Against better ball-playing teams, like Colombia and Australia, we’ve seen that this England team can create chances and score goals. Their offensive effort last time out against a very useful Australia team was outstanding. If Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo turn up in the same mood, then Spain’s back-line will be in for a tough time in this World Cup Final.

After all, we saw at the European Championships last summer that these two teams could hurt each other, even if it was a tight game. Both teams created a couple of big chances in that game and they both had the quality to get the ball in the net. Don’t be surprised to see two teams that arrive here in strong attacking form. Having scored five between them in the semis, they could find their feet offensively.

Russo ready to play leading role

In each of England’s last two games, the forward pairing of Hemp and Russo has been exceptional, but it is Russo who looks an outstanding bet to score here.

With Hemp feeding her at regular intervals, Alessia Russo has been a constant threat in the last two games. What’s more, she has shown a clear hunger and desire to get shots off on goal. No player has taken more shots at this World Cup, while no player has had more shots on target either. If England can once again feed Russo, who has scored in three of her last four down under, averaging 0.38 expected goals per game, then the astute finisher can come up with the goods once again. At generous-looking odds, she is hard to resist.

So these are our betting tips for this England vs Spain World Cup Final preview:

  • Both teams to score in normal time @ best odds of 11/10 with Bet365 or William Hill.
  • Alessia Russo to score at any time in normal time @ best odds of 10/3 with Bet365.