FIFA Women’s World Cup: Spain Reach First Women’s World Cup final After Dramatic Sweden Win

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Spain secured their place in a first FIFA Women’s World Cup final after battling to a 2-1 win over Sweden following a thrilling finish to the semi-final at Eden Park in Auckland. Olga Carmona scored the decisive goal in the 89th minute following a pulsating conclusion to the game which saw Sweden substitute Rebecka Blomqvist cancel out Salma Paralluelo’s goal.

For 81 minutes, the game was a largely careful affair, with neither side giving away many huge chances as a spot in Sunday’s showpiece final lay before them. But a frantic final 15 minutes was sparked as 19-year-old substitute Salma Paralluelo opened the scoring in the 81st minute.

This was matched soon after as another substitute, Rebecka Blomqvist, curled in a fine effort with two minutes remaining to level for Sweden. But Spain wasted no time in retaking the lead, doing so through captain Carmona. Having seen a couple of efforts wasted in the first half, she sent a stunning effort past Zecira Musovic from range, ultimately sending the team into their first major tournament final.

Spain’s Salma Paralluelo, aged 19 years and 275 days, has become the second youngest player to score in a FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-final match after Canada’s Kara Lang (16y 348d) which was also against Sweden in 2003.

Salma Paralluelo

“It was a magic moment once again,” said Salma Paralluelo on her game-changing goal for Spain.

“We know on big occasions we have to be patient. We knew their counters is where Sweden could hurt us. The [Sweden] goal happened really quick. Something we could have maybe avoided. But we just had to accept what had happened; we were tied again and lift our heads up because we had to go get that second goal. That’s what we did. We kept our composure and found that winning goal.”

It is another heart-breaking near miss for Sweden. They were knocked out in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup and Euro 2022, as well as finishing as runners-up at the 2020 Olympics. They will now play in the third-place play-off on Saturday.

“I’m so tired of crying championship tears,” said Sweden captain Kosovare Asllani. “I don’t think people understand the energy and the passion that is behind this. It really sucks! We dreamed of a World Cup final. I’m so proud of this team; where we are today and how we have performed in this tournament. We deserved to be in the final, but that’s how football is,” added Asllani.

Spain will play Australia or England in Sunday’s final in Sydney, with kick-off at 11am. Sweden will face the losers of the other semi-final in the third-place play-off on Saturday in Brisbane, with kick-off at 9am.

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