Spain will reach their first Women’s World Cup title on Tuesday after Olga Carmona beat La Roja 2-1 against Sweden in the 89th minute in the semi-finals.
Having overcome the nearly rebellion of its players against coach Jorge Vilda last year, Spain will face the winner of the tournament’s co-hosts Australia and England in the final in Sydney on Sunday.
The controversy surrounding Spain stretches back to last September, when 15 players signed a letter complaining about the conditions of Vilda and the national team. Three of these players are in the World Cup squad, and Vilda praised the Spanish federation for their support the day before the game against Sweden.
Now La Roja has a chance to become World Cup champions for the first time.
Ranked seventh in the world by FIFA, Spain defeated second-placed Sweden to become the highest ranked team remaining in the tournament.
“This is a historic day,” Vilda said. “We are in the final, that’s what we wanted”
Sweden have lost four of their five semi-finals and will be looking to finish third for the fourth time.
Carmona’s goal limited the rush of late goals that caused Sweden to equalize the match, after which Spain won the game by a surprise score 90 seconds later.
19-year-old super reserve player Salma Paralluelo, who won the match in Spain’s 2-1 victory against the Netherlands in the overtime quarter-final, scored a goal in the 81st minute and ended a scoreless match. He gestured to the crowd to cheer, and the crowd thought it was a celebration of Spain’s decision.
However, the celebration was short-lived. Rebecca Blomqvist equalized for Sweden in the 88th minute.
Then, just 90 seconds later, Carmona scored the winner by beating Swedish goalkeeper Zecira Musovic.
“It was a very tough game. It may have been difficult to recover after the Golden but we showed that the team can handle anything.” said Paralluelo. “We deserved it. “We took that small step and now we need that final push.”
The Swedes have never won the World Cup. They finished second in 2003 and finished third three times. Sweden had won silver medals at the Tokyo Olympics and the 2016 Games in Brazil two years ago.
Spain participates in only their third overall World Cup. Four years ago, La Roja made it to the qualifying round but lost to the champions USA.
“Now there is the final. “I think we should do what we do in every game. We’ve overcome every challenge and now we’re facing the biggest challenge,” Paralluelo said.
Spain dominated the ball and had better chances in the first half. Carmona’s shot from the upper part of the penalty area narrowly went out. Allowing only two goals in the tournament, Sweden’s defense held out.
Putellas had a small kick to Filippa Angeldal before crossing the ball after 35 minutes, but Magdalena Eriksson was there to clear the ball.
Spain’s goalkeeper, Cata Coll, dived late in the half to save Fridolina Rolfo’s shot, then cleared the ball on the corner kick, making the game goalless in the half.
Sweden had the energy to start the second half but Spain still had a chance. In the 63rd minute, Paralleulo’s head shot went aft over the goal.
Alba Redondo was on the ground in front of the goal but stepped on the ball and looked like he was going to score in the 71st minute, but narrowly went out and the ball got caught in the side nets.
There were several volumes of moments when Paralluelo’s goal was checked by video review but the goal was awarded.
43,217 fans attended the match at Auckland’s Eden Park.