Spain Advances Women's World Cup Final Against Sweden
Spain advances Women's World Cup finalfor the first time after a shock victory against Sweden. With a nail-biting 2-1 victory in Auckland, New Zealand, Spain made additional history at the Women's World Cupby stunning the tournament favorite Sweden and advancing to the championship match for the very first time.
Most of the game went by without much of a significant impact to write about; however, three goals in the closing ten minutes lit up the Eden Park semifinal. Salma Paralluelo, a teenager, scored the goal that broke the scoreless tie for Spain in the 81st minute. However, Sweden's Rebecka Blomqvist scored an outstanding goal in the 88th minute to tie the score.
However, with the possibility of extra time looming, Spain's reaction was swift and brutal. Olga Carmona scored the game-winning goal for Colombia with a magnificent strike from the edge of the penalty area just 94 seconds after Sweden had tied the score 1-1.
The goal was the highlight of the match. Spain, which is only competing in its third World Cup, is currently one game away from claiming the sport's most prestigious title, despite the fact that it has never before advanced past the round of 16. When asked what she was thinking about while standing on the field as the full-time whistle blew, Paralluelo told the reporters:
My family, everyone that supports me, in them [the players], we deserved it. We’ve taken this little step, and now, we’ve got one more big push. We’ve just got the final left, we need to keep doing what we’ve been doing every match. We’ve been going from one challenge to another and now we have the last one – the big one – and we’re going to work hard to do it.- Salma Paralluelo
Because of how dominating La Roja was in possession against Sweden, a team rated third in the world, and because of how excellent they have been in the knockout rounds, they will be sure of winning the championship on Sunday, regardless of whether they play England or Australia.
It's possible that Sweden had the pedigree, since only the United States has made it to more World Cup semifinals than them, but Spain had the stardust and the innovation.
Leading figures in Spain congratulated the team on its achievement. “To the final!” Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, while Spain’s men’s World Cup winner Andrés Iniesta called the players “giants.”
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Spain's rise to the top of the international stage is all the more amazing given the country's turbulent year for women's soccer. Last September, 15 players declared themselves unavailable for selection, citing dissatisfaction with head coach Jorge Vilda's training methods.
The Spanish footballfederation (RFEF) supported Vilda, and several of the players, notably two-time Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas, returned. Vilda thanked the federation for its support after the 2-1 triumph over the Netherlands in the final eight, telling reporters:
Without that we would not be here. I’m quite sure all of this would not have happened.- Jorge Vilda
The fact that Spain has reached the final without some of the country's finest players says a lot about the breadth of quality at its disposal. Putellas began against Sweden after being a substitute in the previous World Cup knockout stages as she worked to regain health and form after suffering a catastrophic knee injury last year.
Spain THROUGH to World Cup final after dramatic late winner vs. Sweden! 'Well deserved!' | ESPN FC
Putellas' replacement, 19-year-old Paralluelo, a 57th-minute substitution, was instrumental in Spain's triumph. Prior to her entrance, Spain had dominated possession and had a number of chances to grab the lead - captain Carmona and Aitana Bonmati both went close from distance in the first half.
However, Sweden's defense was not severely troubled until Paralluelo's cut-back in the 69th minute provided Alba Redondo with a fantastic chance to score from four yards out, only for the Spaniard to put her effort into the side-netting.
Nonetheless, it served as a wake-up call to the Swedes, whose finest chance came near the conclusion of the first half, when Fridolina Rolfö forced a fantastic save from Spain goalkeeper Cata Coll from close range.
With the first goal, Paralluelo, who had scored the game-winning extra-time goal against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals, became the second-youngest player to score in a Women's World Cup semifinal, as well as bringing a drab battle to life.
Blomqvist's third goal of the tournament appeared to have forced extra time before Carmona's game-winning goal. The agony of defeat at this point of the competition is all too familiar for the Swedes, who have now lost four World Cup semifinals and were undone this time by Spain's only two shots on goal.