LA Roja’s remarkable journey through the women’s World Cup continues as Spain clinched a dramatic victory against Sweden in the Tuesday semifinal, with Olga Carmona’s 89th-minute goal securing a 2-1 win.

Spain, having overcome internal challenges including player dissent against coach Jorge Vilda, will now face the winner of the Australia vs. England clash in the final on Sunday in Sydney.

If the Lionesses can overcome the Aussies, it will set up a rematch of the England men’s under-21 final back in June, which England won 1-0.

Whoever is the victor on Sunday will secure their first-ever Women’s World Cup.

Sweden, despite a strong record of reaching the semifinals four times, faced disappointment once again and will now play for a fourth third-place finish.

Auckland, New Zealand, August 15th 2023: Olga Carmona (19 Spain) during the 2023 FIFA Womens World Cup semi final football match between Spain v Sweden at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand (Richard Callis / SPP) (Photo by Richard Callis / SPP/Sipa USA) *** World Rights Except Brazil and Germany *** *** Local Caption *** 47785161

Carmona’s late strike marked a flurry of decisive moments that saw Sweden equalise, only for Spain to snatch victory a mere 90 seconds later with a goal against the run of play.

Salma Paralluelo, the 19-year-old sensation who previously secured Spain’s quarterfinal victory against the Netherlands, struck in the 81st minute to break the deadlock. 

However, the jubilation was short-lived as Rebecca Blomqvist levelled the score for Sweden in the 88th minute.

But incredibly, Carmona’s strike moments later beat Sweden’s goalkeeper Zecira Musovic, sealing the victory for Spain.

While Sweden has been a contender in previous tournaments, including being the 2003 runner-up and clinching third place three times, they’ve yet to taste World Cup glory. 

Spain, on the other hand, is making just its third World Cup appearance. Four years ago, they advanced to the knockout round but were halted by eventual champions, the United States.

August 15, 2023, Auckland, New Zealand: 230815 Aitana Bonmati, Esther Gonzalez and Eva Navarro of Spain celebrate after the FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinal between Spain and Sweden on August 15, 2023 in Auckland. .Photo: Mathias Bergeld / BILDBYRÃ…N / kod MB / MB0694.fotboll football soccer fotball fotbolls-vm världsmästerskap vm fifa womens world cup semifinal semifinals spanien sverige a sweden spain 27 dam bbeng fotball vm verdensmesterskap kvinner women jubel (Credit Image: © Mathias Bergeld/Bildbyran via ZUMA Press)

Sweden showcased dominance in the group stage and eliminated the two-time defending champions, the United States, in a penalty shootout. They further overcame Japan with a 2-1 victory in the quarterfinals.

Spain’s journey has been marked by a second-place finish in their group to Japan. However, they bounced back with a convincing 5-1 win against Switzerland and a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in the quarterfinals. 

This semifinal appearance was Spain’s first in a major tournament since the 1997 European Championships.

The match was a testament to Spain’s resilience, considering the turmoil they faced in the past year. Fifteen players had expressed their decision to step down from the national team last September, citing concerns over mental health and a desire for a more professional environment. 

Despite this, coach Jorge Vilda retained the support of the Spanish federation, and the team ultimately rallied, with players like Bonmati returning for the World Cup.

Spain’s path to the final has been anything but predictable, and their journey to this point has captured the hearts of football fans. 

The final in Sydney promises an electrifying clash as Spain looks to etch their name in history as Women’s World Cup champions.


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