Spain beat Sweden in a thrilling finish to reach their first final.
As Spain reached their first Women’s World Cup final, they beat Sweden in a thrilling finish.
Among their supporters at Eden Park, Auckland, there were wild scenes of jubilation after Captain Olga Carmona’s 89th-minute winner.
Just 93 seconds earlier, Sweden had equalized through Rebecka Blomqvist, and it appeared that the match would go to extra time.
With just 10 minutes left, Spain took the lead when substitute Salma Paralluelo, 19, scored.
The final will take place in Sydney on Sunday between England and Australia.
During Wednesday’s (11:00 BST) semi-final between the Lionesses and the co-hosts, the screening will be live across the globe.
Spain’s players celebrated wildly at full-time, while Sweden’s players collapsed as their World Cup dreams came to an end.
The opening 80 minutes were tight and cagey, offering little glimpse of what would follow.
In the wake of a serious knee injury, two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas was recalled by Spain manager Jorge Vilda.
When Putellas nutmegged Manchester City’s Filippa Angeldahl, she brought the biggest cheer from the sell-out crowd of 43,217.
Cata Coll denied Fridolina Rolfo’s third goal of the tournament in the 42nd minute with her first shot on target.
The Spanish dominated possession, but Sweden’s defence, which has been solid and resolute for the past month, frustrated their opponents for long periods, while the Swedes again used a familiar weapon.
Coll, who had not played a senior game for Spain before the World Cup, held up well to Sweden’s inswinging corners, which had caused havoc in previous games.
It was then time for the explosive finish.
It was Paralluelo, who scored the winner against the Netherlands in the quarter-final, who kept her composure to fire Spain ahead before Blomqvist equalized.
Carmona sent Spain through with a shot that went in off the bar following a corner.
Before this tournament, Spain had won only one of its previous seven Women’s World Cup matches. With their fifth and most dramatic victory in New Zealand, they now head for the final.
Spain won this match just 15 days after they lost to Japan 4-0 in their group match.
Vilda said after that defeat “no-one should lose hope” and his players have responded by eliminating Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
A cloud hung over Spain’s arrival at this tournament after 15 players threatened to quit due to their dissatisfaction with Vilda’s methods, and the coach initially exiled them.
Mariona Caldentey, Aitana Bonmati and former Manchester United defender Ona Batlle were ultimately included in his World Cup squad.
On a memorable night for La Roja, all three players helped Spain reach the final despite their differences.