FIFAWWC23: Spain Defeats Netherlands 2-1 To Qualify For Semifinal

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A stoppage time strike from teenager Salma Paralluelo saw Spain scrape past The Netherlands into their first ever World Cup semifinal after a dramatic 120 minutes, Reelradio.com.ng reports.

As expected, Spain controlled the tempo from the off, and perhaps should have snatched an early lead to stun the Dutch.

After a superb one-two in the box, Esther González somehow poked her effort from point-blank range wide of the post to spare the Dutch blushes inside five minutes.

Spain’s bad luck in front of goal continued as the half wore on. Alba Redondo was the next to narrowly miss putting her side in the lead, hitting the post twice in a matter of seconds halfway through the interval.

Redondo finally put the ball in the back of the net in the dying minutes of the first half, but the goal was chalked off for an offside in the build-up, seeing the score remain level at the break.

The Netherlands appeared to have their chance to strike after being awarded a penalty-kick on the hour mark for a last-man challenge on Lineth Beerensteyn in behind the Spain defence, but the penalty was rescinded after a VAR review.

The drama would not end there however. Spain got a penalty of their own in the final 10 minutes thanks to Stefanie van der Gragt, who handled the ball on the edge of her own box.

With the match on the line, Mariona Caldentey stepped up and fired her penalty in off the post to snatch the lead for Spain in the dying minutes.

Their lead would not last long however, as Stefanie van der Gragt did the improbable. The centre-back stepped up from defence in the first minute of stoppage time to fire a rasping shot in past the keeper the level the score and send the tie to extra time.

After the two teams traded chances in extra time, Spain drove the final nail in the Dutch coffin on the break. An electric counterattack was capped off by 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo, who sent her strike in off the post after a lovely step-over.

Spain will now await the winner of Japan and Sweden.

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