The World Cup is looking for its new ‘queen’


The World Cup in Australia and New Zealand reaches its final week. After starting on July 21 with 32 teams in contention, there are only four left, including the Spanish, to fight for the title and one of them will make history because the event will crown a new world champion.

The United States, champions of the last two editions, lost in the round of 16 to Sweden, double champions Germany did not even make it past the group stage, and Norway, champions in 1995, was knocked out by 2011 champions Japan, who was the one that survived the longest, also saying goodbye to the Swedes in the quarterfinals. Now, Spain, Sweden, Australia and England seek to make history and we briefly review these four final candidates.

1. Spain. Number six in the FIFA world ranking. The team led by Jorge Vilda has finally been able to break the wall in a major international competition and is two games away from winning a title, something that had only happened in 1997 in the Eurocup, losing 2-1 in the semifinals against Italy. The Spanish team is the only one of the four that does not have any title at an absolute level and the only one that has not played a grand final, but if they lift the cup on August 20, they would achieve a milestone, being the current world champion. of the three female categories, and also, together with Germany, the only one to have been world champion at the male and female level. Together with Australia, it is the only one of the four that has conceded a defeat, the 4-0 against Japan, but it has scored 15 goals and the only one that has not needed a penalty shootout.

2. Sweden. Number three in the world ranking. The Swedish team, Spain’s rival in the semifinals, is the only one of the four candidates who knows what it is to play in the World Cup final, since they did so in 2003, with a defeat against Germany. In fact, it is the most ‘veteran’ in terms of penultimate rounds in a World Cup since next Tuesday will be its fifth presence, being eliminated by the Netherlands (2019), Japan (2011) and Norway (1991). National team and soccer with a great tradition in this modality, she was continental champion in 1984 and won the silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Tokyo in 2021. Strong defensively (no one has done more than one goal) and physique, are highlighting their goalkeeper, Zecira Musovic, and the center-back Amanda Ilestedt has scored four goals.

3. England. Number four in the FIFA world ranking. The England team is back in the World Cup semifinals for the third consecutive edition and hopes to assert the ‘Sarina Wiegmann factor’. The Dutch coach, the only woman to lead one of the four semifinalists, could continue to expand her record and is looking for her fourth consecutive final as a coach after having played the 2017 Euro Cup and the 2019 World Cup with her country, and that of EURO 2021 already with his current team, which he led to make history with his first major title. England wants to emulate Germany, which was capable of being European and world champions, although in the case of the Germans twice (2001-2003 and 2005-2007). It is the best of the four defensively with only two goals conceded.

4. Australia. Number ten in the FIFA world ranking. The ‘Matildas’ want to make football history for their country, which has not had such a feat and now they are closer after finally breaking their barrier to reach their first World Cup semifinals. Champion of Asia in 2010, in Tokyo 2020 she was already a semifinalist and now she will try to break the bad luck of the hosts since only the United States, in 1999, was able to proclaim themselves world champion playing at home. The team coached by Tony Gustavsson has gone from less to more in a tournament where they reached the last day of the group stage on the brink of the abyss. However, they have been able to keep a clean sheet in their last three games, for a total of four out of five after the opener against the Republic of Ireland.