The winner of Sunday’s match between Australia and England will face Spain in the championship game. Spain survived a near-mutiny by its players against coach Jorge Vilda a year ago and will face off against the victor of that match.
Olga Carmona’s goal in the 89th minute propelled La Roja to a 2-1 win against Sweden in the Women’s World Cup semifinal match on Tuesday. With the victory, Spain will compete for its first Women’s World Cup crown.
Now, the national team of Spain has a chance to win the World Cup for the very first time. As a result of Spain’s victory against Sweden, the second-ranked team in the world, Spain is now the highest-ranked team still competing in the tournament. Spain is now rated seventh in the world by FIFA.
As a result, Sweden will compete for a fourth third-place finish after suffering defeat in all four of its previous semifinal matches.
The 81st minute goal was scored by Salma Paralluelo, a 19-year-old super-sub who previously scored the game-winning goal in Spain’s 2-1 extra-time triumph against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals. Her goal broke a 0-0 tie in the game. She made a motion that the audience should shout, and the throng mistook it for them cheering Spain’s game-winning goal.
However, the celebration did not last very long. In the 88th minute, Sweden’s Rebecca Blomqvist equalised the score.
Then, less than a minute and a half later, Carmona scored the game-winning goal by beating the goalie for Sweden, Zecira Musovic.
The Swedes have never been able to take home the World Cup trophy, but they’ve certainly come close: they ended in second place in 2003 and have placed third three times. In both the Olympic Games held in Tokyo two years ago and the Olympic Games held in Brazil in 2016, Sweden was awarded silver medals.
Spain is competing in the World Cup for just the third time in its entire history. In the competition that took place four years ago, La Roja made it all the way to the knockout phase, but they were ultimately defeated by the United States.
The Swedes dominated their competition in the group stage, winning every match they played, until eliminating the United States of America from the competition by penalty shootout after the game ended scoreless.
After suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of Japan, Spain finished in second place in its group. However, the team managed to claw its way back into the playoffs with victories against Switzerland (5-1) and the Netherlands (2-1). It was the first time since the 1997 European Championships that La Roja has competed in the semifinals of a major tournament.
Alexia Putellas, a two-time winner of the Ballon d’Or who plays for Spain, got her third start of the World Cup. Putellas had an ACL tear over the summer of 2017 and has been working hard to regain her previous level of fitness. In the two most recent games, she came off the bench to play for the team.
Putellas, who had taken Esther Gonzalez’s spot in the starting 11, was replaced by Paralluelo, who was only 19 years old at the time of the match, in the 57th minute. Paralluelo was the player who scored the game-winning goal for Spain in extra time against the Netherlands.
In the first half, Spain held a significant advantage in terms of both possession and scoring opportunities. Olga Carmona, the defender, took a shot from the top of the box, but her low effort was just wide of the goal. But Sweden’s defence, which came into the tournament having conceded only two goals, did not crack.
In the 35th minute, Putellas used a nutmeg on Filippa Angeldal just before sending in a cross, but Magdelena Eriksson was there to intercept it and remove the danger.
Fridolina Rolfo attempted to score towards the end of the first half, but Spain’s custodian Cata Coll made a diving save and then punched the ball away on a corner kick to ensure that the score remained 0-0 going into the break.
Sweden started the second half with a lot of enthusiasm, but Spain still had a lot of opportunities. The header that was attempted by Paralleulo in the 63rd minute went high and wide of the target.
In the 71st minute, Alba Redondo was laying on the ground in front of the goal when she put a foot on the ball and made it look as if she had scored.
When the goal scored by Paralluelo was subjected to video review, there were a few nervous moments; nonetheless, the goal was ultimately given.