21 Aug, 2023 @ 17:37
2 mins read

Spanish footballer, 23, finds out her father died before seeing her score the winning goal against England in Sunday’s World Cup final

SPAIN’S World Cup hero was brought crashing down to earth with the news that her father had passed away before the final and did not see his daughter’s moment of glory. 

Olga Carmona, 23, scored what turned out to be the winning goal against England in the 29th minute in Sydney to win Spain their first ever women’s World Cup.

But in the most bittersweet tale of triumph and tragedy, the mother of the Sevilliana waited until her daughter had shared the ecstasy of lifting the World Cup with her teammates before breaking the news.

He had died in the early hours of Saturday morning, over 24 hours before the final, but the family had not wanted to break the Real Madrid striker’s focus with the news beforehand.

Carmona’s mother and twin brother Tomas had accompanied her during the group stages of the tournament in Australia and then flown back to Spain, before flying back again for the final.

Olga Carmona captain of Spain celebrates with her medal during the celebration at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Final match between Spain v England at Australia Stadium, Sydney. Just hours later she would learn her father had died. (Photo by Patricia Pérez Ferraro / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

After scoring the deciding goal, Carmona or la bomba Carmona revealed a t-shirt beneath her jersey with the name ‘Merchi’, a tribute to a friend’s mother who had also passed away in the same week.

Just days earlier she had scored in the semi-finals in the 2-1 victory against Sweden, becoming the first woman to score in both the semis and the final of the women’s World Cup since American Carli Lloyd in 2015.

Both the Spanish Football Federation and her club, Real Madrid, released statements expressing their condolences upon learning of the tragedy.

Once the euphoria and sadness had passed, Carmona took to Twitter to post a touching tribute to her father.

“Little did I know, I had my Star before the match even began. I know you gave me the strength to achieve something unique,” she wrote. 

Carmona celebrates scoring goal during FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Final match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia Sydney (Credit Image: © Danish Ravi/ZUMA Press Wire)

“I know you watched me tonight and you’re proud of me. Rest in peace, Dad,” Olga wrote on her social media.

Carmona’s career began in the Sevilla FC youth ranks, where she made her debut in the Primera Iberdrola league.

She joined Real Madrid in 2020, and earned a spot in the national team in the process. 

Sunday was not her first taste of tournament success. She planted a stunner into the top corner during the 2018 U19 European Championship which Spain eventually won.

The goal was ranked among the top 11 goals of the season.  

Carmona lifts her shirt to reveal a jersey with the name ‘Merchi’, a tribute to a friend’s mother who had also passed away in the same week. (Credit Image: © Danish Ravi/ZUMA Press Wire)

Despite a semifinal defeat to France in the following year’s edition, the team secured a spot in the U20 World Cup in Costa Rica, only for FIFA to suspend the event due to the pandemic. 

“I always regretted not being able to play in that World Cup,” Carmona admitted. 

She has now set that regret right.

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Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? walter@theolivepress.es
@waltfinc

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