As the semifinals remain a roadblock for the Swedes, Spain reached its first-ever Women’s World Cup final with a 2-1 win Tuesday morning. Olga Carmona struck home the winner for Spain in the 89’ at Eden Park, NZ. Spain will play the winners of England vs Australia on Aug 21.
Sweden has been knocked out at the semi-final stage for the fourth time, and Spain’s unlikely run to the final comes in their third-ever Women’s World Cup campaign. With a chance to compete for World Cup gold, the first half was a cagey affair. It took 80 minutes of play for this match to come alive with Salma Celeste Paralluelo Ayingon’s opening score, then a goal rush followed. Sweden’s Rebecka Blomqvist equalized in the 88’, one and a half minutes later, Carmona curled in the winner for Spain.
Sweden looked more threatening in front of goal in the first half, a high crossfield ball from Nathalie Björn found Fridolina Rolfö who volleyed the ball at the Spanish goal but was denied in the 41′. Spain’s golden girl Alexia Putellas got her first start in a knockout game for La Roja, Salma Celeste Paralluelo Ayingon replaced her in 56’. Immediately Paralluelo made an impact, setting up a goal chance for Alba Redondo who hit the side netting. The 19-year-old opened the scoring, having netted the quarterfinal winner against the Netherlands. She threaded the ball through a gap in the Swedish defense to put her side ahead with ten minutes to play.
Rebecka Blomqvist responded for her side eight minutes later as she guided the ball into the net with her instep. A high, lingering ball from Rolfö found the Wolfsburg striker in the box for the equalizer.
Sweden’s celebration was short-lived. On the edge of the box, Olga Carmona lined up a shot. She grazed the bottom of the crossbar, sending the ball spinning past Zećira Mušović to secure a spot in the final for Jorge Vildas side. An army of red jerseys ran to the sideline sliding on their knees to greet Carmona, who had just scored the most important goal in Spanish women’s football history. It was a show of pure emotion for a team that was counted out by just about everyone after a turbulent start to the tournament.
England will take on co-hosts Australia on Wednesday at 6 am ET. The FIFA Women’s World Cup final will take place on Aug 21 at 6 am ET.