Spain advances to the final of the Women’s World Cup by beating Sweden

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) – Spain will play for the first time Women’s World Cup Championship after Olga Carmona’s 89th-minute goal helped La Roja to a 2-1 win over Sweden in Tuesday’s semi-finals.

Spain, who overcame their players’ near-mutiny against coach Jorge Vilda last year, meet the winners of co-hosts Australia and England in the final in Sydney on Sunday.

Sunday’s winner will be a first-time world champion.

Sweden have now lost in four of five semifinals and will be battling for fourth third place.

Spain now meet the winners of Australia and England, the co-hosts of the tournament, in the final in Sydney.
Spain now meet the winners of Australia and England, the co-hosts of the tournament, in the final in Sydney.

Carmona’s goal capped a string of later goals that saw Sweden win the game in a draw and Spain surprisingly win 90 seconds later.

Salma Paralluelo, the 19-year-old super substitute who also scored the winning goal in Spain’s 2-1 extra-time quarter-final win over the Netherlands, scored the decisive goal in the 81st minute in a goalless game. She gestured towards the crowd, who thought she was celebrating Spain’s decision.

But the celebration was short. Rebecca Blomqvist equalized for Sweden in the 88th minute.

Then, just 90 seconds later, Carmona defeated Sweden goalkeeper Zecira Musovic with the winning goal.

The Swedes have never won a World Cup, but they came close: they finished second in 2003 and finished third three times. Sweden won the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics two years ago and at the 2016 games in Brazil.

Spain is only taking part in a World Cup for the third time. Four years ago, La Roja reached the knockout stages but lost to eventual champions USA.

The Swedes already defeated their opponents in the group stage They knocked out USA, the two-time champions, on penalties after a goalless draw. Sweden got by then Japan 2-1 in quarterfinals.

Spain fell to second in their group to Japan before going under Switzerland 5:1 and that The Netherlands reach the semi-finals with a score of 2-1. It was La Roja’s first appearance in a major semi-final since the 1997 European Championships.

Spain’s two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas started for the third time at the World Cup. Putellas tore his cruciate ligament last summer and is working his way back to full fitness. She came on as a substitute in the team’s last two games.

Putellas, who replaced Esther Gonzalez in the starting XI, was substituted in the 57th minute for 19-year-old Paralluelo, who scored in extra time for Spain’s win over the Netherlands.

Spain dominated possession and had the better chances in the first half. Defender Olga Carmona shot from inside the box, but the low shot went just wide of the target. But the Swedish defence, which had conceded only two goals in the tournament, held out.

Putellas overpowered Filippa Angeldal before giving in a cross in the 35th minute but Magdelena Eriksson was there to clear the ball.

Spain goalkeeper Cata Coll saved Fridolina Rolfo’s shot with a diving dive late in the period, then swatted the ball away from a corner kick to keep the game goalless at half-time.

Sweden had the energy to start the second half but Spain still had chances. Paralleulo’s header sailed over the goal in the 63rd minute.

Alba Redondo was down in front of goal but got a foot on the ball and appeared to score in the 71st minute, but she missed just wide and the ball was caught in the side netting.

There were a couple of tense moments when Paralluelo’s goal was verified via video review but the goal was awarded.

The game at Eden Park in Auckland was attended by 43,217 fans.

That Spain have made it this far came as a surprise after a turbulent year. On September 15 last year, players wrote to the federation that they were leaving the national team to protect their mental health. The players demanded a more professional environment.

Ultimately, the Spanish FA backed coach Jorge Vilda. Three of the 15 players, including Bonmati, returned to the team for the World Cup.

Spain and Sweden had never met at a World Cup.

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