Spain ends Sweden's dream in nail-biting finish

Sweden's dreams of a first Women's World Cup triumph were dashed as Spain triumphed in a highly dramatic semi-final in Auckland, winning 2–1, with a speculative long-range shot from Olga Carmona sealing the win in the game's dying minutes.

Salma Paralluelo gjorde 1–0 för Spanien i VM-semifinalen mot Sverige.

Salma Paralluelo gjorde 1–0 för Spanien i VM-semifinalen mot Sverige.

Foto: Abbie Parr/AP/TT

Fotboll2023-08-15 13:04

Spain have reached their first Women's World Cup final after Olga Carmona's 89th-minute long-range shot evaded Swedish 'keeper, Zećira Mušović, and broke the deadlock in a tense and dramatic semi-final in Auckland. 

Jorge Vilda's formidable side will next face either co-hosts Australia or European champions England, who play tomorrow, in Sunday's big showdown at Sydney's Stadium Australia. 

In only their third Women's World Cup Spain produced a masterclass in possession against the experienced Swedes. But despite their dominance, the first half was characterized by missed chances and a lack of finishing touch. As the match wore on, chances began to multiply and the pace of the game picked up. The breakthrough seemed imminent, and with just nine minutes left on the clock, 19-year-old Barcelona forward Salma Paralluelo's low shot finally penetrated the stubborn Swedish defense at Eden Park.

It looked as if Spain had secured victory, but Wolfsburg's Rebecka Blomqvist had other ideas and equalized with just two minutes left in regulation time, with a brilliant volley. Undeterred, Spain responded immediately, surging up the pitch and sealing victory when Carmona's long-range shot ricocheted in off the underside of the crossbar, via Mušović's glove.

For Sweden, a nation that had eliminated defending champions the United States and reached the semi-finals for the fifth time in history, the quest for a first major women's trophy since winning the inaugural European Championship in 1984 remains elusive.