The winner of the 2023 Women’s World Cup will be decided on Sunday 20 August when Spain takes on England at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney.
The game will kick off at 11 am UK time with Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses determined to deliver a landmark double, following on from the European Championships success last year.
However, World Cup glory, alone, would represent a historic feat for the England Women’s team.
That is the collective prize on offer and the most important aim but another award will be settled on Sunday, the World Cup Golden Boot.
That accolade is awarded to the top goalscorer of the tournament and whilst Spain and England will have players with aspirations of the individual trophy, the current leader is Japan’s Hinata Miyazawa with five goals scored.
She will be watching on, knowing that those taking part in the final will need at least two goals to catch up with her. Will that happen or will the 23-year-old Mynavi Sendai midfielder prevail?
It is unusual for a striker not to be in the lead but that is what has unfolded, so far, in Australia. Miyazawa’s attacking prowess was demonstrated as she contributed significantly to Japan’s run to the quarter-final, only to be beaten 2-1 by Sweden.
Looking ahead to the final on Sunday, a hat trick could possibly be required for a Spanish or English player to take home the prize.
Contenders for the 2023 Women's World Cup Golden Boot
- Hinata Miyazawa (JAP) – 1/6 – 5 goals scored
- Lauren James (ENG) – 69/5 – 3 goals scored
- Jennifer Hermoso (SPA) – 20/1 – 3 goals scored
- Alessia Russo (ENG) – 23/1 – 3 goals scored
- Lauren Hemp (ENG) – 23/1 – 3 goals scored
- Alba Redondo (SPA) – 25/1 – 3 goals scored
*Prices taken from oddschecker.com on 19 August.
Lauren James returns to the England squad for the final following her red card against Nigeria at the Last 16 stage.
The 21-year-old is a very talented player, as she demonstrated earlier in the tournament but she may need to settle for a place on the bench for the showpiece decider.
In her absence, Manchester United’s Ella Toone has made a great impact, including her vital strike in the semi-final success over Australia, with the opener setting the tone for the 3-1 win.
The other goals in the game came from Lauren Hemp and Alessio Russo which means they are all tied on three goals so there will be a friendly rivalry ongoing to take the responsibility to fire England to glory.
A hat trick in the final would be some achievement, as much as it is unlikely, but it would also be required for Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso or Alba Redondo to secure the accolade.
What happens if there is a tie in the race for the 2023 Women’s World Cup Golden Boot?
If there is a tie, if Miyazawa is caught, the player who played the fewest minutes in the tournament will be declared the Golden Boot winner.
That will be considered harsh by some as it’s all about putting the ball in the back of the net, but there is plenty still to play for, or in the case of the Japanese player, to hold on to.
England will face a formidable challenge from Spain and one of their most dangerous assets is Salma Paralluelo, who has risen to prominence in this tournament at the tender age of just 19.
She announced her arrival in senior international football with the winner over the Netherlands in the quarter-final then she netted in the last-four meeting with Sweden.
Lucy Bronze, her teammate at Barcelona, could well come into direct competition with Paralluelo on the pitch in what would be an interesting subplot.
The Lionesses have an abundance of talent and experience in their ranks, exemplified by the skipper, Millie Bright, who assumed the captaincy in the absence of the injured Leah Williamson.
The sense of occasion is at the forefront of Bright’s thoughts, who told BBC Sport:
We have got a game plan that we have to go out and execute. Everyone knows how big this is. We know how passionate our nation is back home and how much they want us to win.
“But for us, there is a process. We need to play the game of our lives. It's important our process remains the same. Mentality-wise everyone is super excited to get out there and put a show on.”