Spain Edge Netherlands 2-1 In Wellington

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Spain is through to the semi-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time in their history after Salma Paralluelo struck in extra time to send the 2019 finalists crashing out.

Stefanie van der Gragt had earlier scored a last-gasp equalizer for the Netherlands after conceding the penalty from which Mariona Caldentey had given La Roja what was, at the time, a thoroughly deserved opener. But it was the 19-year-old winger who scored the all-important winning goal that propelled Spain into the semi-finals of Australia & New Zealand 2023; a year after notching a brace in the U-20 Women’s World Cup final.

“Right now I’ve got a real mix of emotions,” the goal scorer explained in the post match interview; her hands clutched around her Player of the Match award. “It was a great but difficult match. We had to keep our heads and remain consistent. I think you get your reward if you put in the right level of effort. We worked hard and made it into the semis.

“You always dream of a moment like this. We’ve reached the semi-finals for the first time, we’re among the four best in the world, but we’re not going to stop. Today, yes, celebrate, but tomorrow we will prepare for the semi-finals because we want to be in the final.” Jorge Vilda, Spain coach

The sixth-ranked La Roja, who had not advanced past the round of 16 in two previous World Cup appearances, will face Sweden for a place in the final in Auckland on Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

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