Spain dramatically booked their place in their first-ever Women’s World Cup 2023 final by overcoming Sweden 2-1 in a tense affair, Reelradio.com.ng reports.
Sweden arrived having swept all before them so far, including the reigning champions USA in the Round of 16. And perhaps further boosted by having never been beaten by the Spaniards in 11 H2Hs, Blågult burst out of the traps with Yellow waves immediately crashing upon the famous red and blue of the Spanish history-makers.
It was La Roja who would threaten first, however, as Olga Carmona’s flashing shot, which just evaded the post, kick-started an impressive response which saw them dominate possession.
A fierce Swedish backline, which had only conceded two goals coming into the game, appeared uncharacteristically rocked by Spain’s continual advances. Playing out from the back at a typical Tiki-Taka tempo, it was increasingly obvious that it was Jorge Vilda’s women who sat in the driving seat.
But just minutes before the break, Sweden forward Stina Blackstenius saw her strike from inside the penalty area saved by Barcelona’s Catalina Coll, which only heightened nerves in a packed stadium ahead of the second half.
Arsenal’s Amanda Ilestedt had been immense for the Swedes once more as she continued to douse any sign of danger. Such solid foundations have often provided the base for world champions and Sweden represented an improved outfit as they started to stretch the Spanish backline.
But in an extremely tightly-contested affair it was now Spain’s turn to threaten, and they would have found an opener if Alba Redondo hadn’t inexplicably hooked wide after some brilliant work by substitute Salma Paralluelo.
The introduction of the teenager had provided the Spanish attack with impetus and after a period of dominance, they found a goal that looked like it had sealed victory.
The 19-year-old Paralluelo capped off a brilliant substitute display with a wicked shot that found the bottom corner, yet Sweden, who had suffered three defeats from their previous four semi-finals, refused to give in and struck back just minutes later through Rebecka Blomqvist.
But there was yet more drama as the game burst into life in the final minutes. Barely seconds after Sweden’s equaliser, Carmona’s fierce strike sent the crowd into a frenzy though some may have believed that Swedish stopper Zećira Mušović could have done more as the ball slipped past her outstretched fingertips – incredible scenes for a Spain side who hadn’t even qualified for a World Cup until 2015 but another famous victory puts them on a brink of a first-ever Women World Cup trophy.