Spain Reach First Final After Amazing Late Semi-Final Drama

Three goals in the last 10 minutes brought the semi-final alive
10:57, 15 Aug 2023

Captain Olga Carmona provided the killer moment of a crazy final 10 minutes as Spain booked a first-ever Women’s World Cup final berth with a 2-1 victory over Sweden in Tuesday’s first semi-final at Eden Park in Auckland.

A nervy encounter burst into life in the closing stages as teenage substitute Salma Paralluelo put Spain ahead on 81 minutes, only for fellow replacement Rebecka Blomqvist to equalise with little more than two minutes remaining.

But Carmona’s winner barely 60 seconds later escaped the desperate attempt by Sweden keeper Zecira Muscovic to palm the ball over the bar, clipping the underside of the goal-frame on its way in to send Jorge Vilda’s side to Sunday’s final in Sydney.


It made for a manic finale and a sensational storyline for a national team blighted by in-fighting over the past 12 months amidst great acrimony regarding Vilda’s behaviour and his continuation as the head coach.

Until that frantic close, the match had been a tough watch, with neither team really busting a gut to provide a telling contribution in front of goal. It was Spain, though, who showed the gradually began to take control.

Carmona provided Spain’s best moment of the first half with a shot across Muscovic which arrowed just wide, while Sweden’s Fridolina Rolfo came closest to opening the deadlock before the break, meeting a right-wing cross with a shot at the far post which Cata Coll had to claw away.

Spain continued to be the side holding most of the possession, but Alba Redondo wasted a great opportunity to open the scoring in the 70th minute when she failed to connect with an initial chance from a superb Jennifer Hermoso cross, and then when Mariona Caldentey turned a pass back into the six-yard box, the prone Redondo swung her leg at the ball and fired just wide.

Just as the match looked destined for extra time, Spain sub Paralluelo – the first teenager to play in a semi-final for 16 years – reacted quickly to slam home a half-cleared cross. Coming off the back of plenty of possession but little in the way of quality in the final third, the sub’s shot was the first Spain effort to hit the target.

But Sweden substitutes Lina Hurtig and Rebecka Blomqvist soon combined for an equaliser, Hurtig directing a left-wing cross into the path of Blomqvist, who hooked across Coll into the far corner.

Yet up popped Carmona to lash home the winner, with Spain holding out for the eight minutes of added time to book a fixture against either holders Australia or Sarina Wiegman’s England on Sunday in the showpiece of women’s football.


*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject to Change

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