England, a team that has its best weapons in scoring efficiency and defensive solidity


The Spanish women’s soccer team will play the World Cup title this Sunday against the England team, the current European champion and which is taking shape in a tournament from less to more, standing out for its great offensive capacity and its defensive solidity, in the latter section conceding only three goals.

Sarina Wiegman’s pupils, among the favorites at the start of this World Cup, have more than justified that status over the course of the tournament. They began leaving some doubts in the group stage, where they won all three of their games, but only showed their true potential on matchday three by thrashing China (6-1).

The crosses did not start in the best way, and a very physical team like Nigeria’s was about to surprise them. Lauren James left the ‘Lionesses’ with one less after stepping on a rival without the ball, but her teammates pulled caste to send the duel to a penalty shootout; there they recovered from Georgia Stanway’s error on the first pitch, to end up winning 4-2.

In the quarterfinals against Colombia, they had to overcome the initial goal scored by Leicy Santos, an Atlético de Madrid player, something they achieved thanks to goals from their usual attacking partner. Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo also scored in the semifinals against Australia, with the British setting their best game in this World Cup.

Between them, they have scored four of England’s last five goals. In addition, facing the final, Wiegman will recover James, the author of another three goals and the second player who takes advantage of goal opportunities the most, scoring 2.2 points more than the expected goals generated (0.8).

His is not an isolated case in England, since efficiency in front of goal is one of the main virtues. Despite being out of the ‘top 5’ of teams with the most expected goals in the tournament, the ‘Lionesses’ are the third highest scoring team with 13 goals, scoring 2.8 more goals than advanced statistics give them. In addition, they have generated 14 fewer clear chances than Spain, their rival in the final, and have only scored four fewer goals.

But the greatest strength of the English team is in its defense. England have conceded just three goals against in the entire tournament in the five games they have played. A much lower number than that of the Spanish team, which has conceded more than double (seven). And all this, despite the fact that the team from the islands has received 31 more shots in total than the Spanish team.

A fairly relevant fact that is supported by the level offered by the entire English defense (goalkeeper, central defenders and wingers). Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood are the two World Cup players who have intercepted the most rival shots, 14 and 13 respectively. In addition, goalkeeper Mary Earps has the sixth best save percentage in the championship, at 81%.

To these data we must add the always uncomfortable task of damaging a line of three central defenders that stand out for their aerial power, being together the second team that has won the most aerial duels in the World Cup (107), only behind the Australian 125.

Great attack and better defense that make England a worthy finalist in this tournament. Now it will be the Spanish team that has to show their best version to try to dwarf the virtues of the ‘Lionesses’ and be able to sink their teeth into one of the best national teams on the international scene.