In 61 years of men’s and women’s World Cup finals, there has only ever been one closer match-up than this Sunday’s game between Spain and England. Our model made Spain the pre-tournament favourites, but we now assess the match to be a genuine 50/50 toss-up.
It is a fitting end to the most competitive Women’s World Cup in history, and also marks a shift in the game’s centre of gravity to Europe. Both these trends are likely to be sustained. The globalisation of women’s football will continue to democratise talent pathways, while top European leagues have eaten into NWSL’s share of the world’s 100 best players, which has fallen from over 40% to under 20% in just 10 years.
The tournament has been an unqualified success, and the final has a good chance of providing an appropriately exciting climax.