Football World Cup: England proud in face of final defeat to Spain as wait for glory continues

England coach Sarina Wiegman says her team can be very proud of themselves, after reaching their first Women's World Cup final, despite falling to a 1-0 defeat by Spain.

Olga Carmona's first-half strike was enough to clinch a maiden world title for the Spanish in just their third World Cup appearance.

European champions England went into the tournament missing key players through injury and struggled to convince at times, but found a way to overcome every challenge to reach the showpiece match for the first time.

Wiegman says it will take time for the players to realise the scale of their achievement.

England react to their World Cup defeat.
England react to their World Cup defeat. Photo credit: Getty Images

"Of course, everyone was very disappointed that we didn't win the game," she said. "On the other hand, I think we can be very proud of ourselves, although that doesn't feel that way at this moment.

"That takes a little time, because now the disappointment is the most of what you feel, but everything we've done, how we have grown into the tournament, the challenges we had before the tournament, during the tournament, how we have adapted to situations, and we have given everything we could in this tournament and also in this game ... that's what I said to them, we could still be proud."

It is the second World Cup final defeat for Wiegman, 53, who took her native Netherlands to the title match in 2019, when they lost 2-0 to the USA.

Already trailing to Carmona's strike, England could have gone two down after the hour mark, when Spain were given a penalty for a handball by Keira Walsh, although the decision looked harsh on the midfielder and Wiegman says it was "way too light".

However, goalkeeper Mary Earps, who took the tournament's Golden Glove award, saved the spot-kick, a moment the coach thought would give her team the momentum to get back into the game.

"It was a crucial moment that she stopped that penalty and I actually thought, 'We have the momentum now, we're going to get back and score a goal'," she said. "I was really convinced about that, but she had 2-3 other very good saves in the game and I think the goalkeeper of Spain had some very good saves.

"It was a very open game."