On a chilly evening in New Zealand, Spain landed in the final of the Women’s World Cup after defeating experienced Sweden with a dramatic 2-1 win.
The Swedes, who were competing in their fifth World Cup semifinal, had exhibited a remarkable defense, conceding only two goals in their previous five matches.
During the first half, they upheld their resolute demeanor, steadfastly denying any goals in the initial 45 minutes for the fifth consecutive match. They challenged Spain to make better use of the ball, with Elin Rubensson’s impeccably timed tackles thwarting potential threats at the back.
However, the course of the Spain attack shifted in the 57th minute when coach Jorge Vilda made a tactical adjustment, substituting Alexia Putellas with Salma Paralluelo. This move proved effective, as Paralluelo’s immediate impact set the stage for Alba Redondo to slot a shot into the side netting.
Once again replicating their quarterfinal feat against the Netherlands, Spain broke the deadlock, this time with a splendid performance from Paralluelo, who skillfully guided the ball into the bottom corner, marking the team’s initial shot on target.
Nonetheless, the stage remained set for a cascade of excitement, as Sweden’s own impact substitute, Lina Hurtig, made a crucial touch, redirecting the ball into the path of Rebecka Blomqvist. In the 88th minute, Blomqvist capitalized on the opportunity and hammered in an equalizing goal.
The jubilation, however, proved to be short-lived. Within a mere minute, an inventive short corner strategy led to Olga Carmona, who had been daringly testing her luck with long-range shots throughout the game, lofting the ball over goalkeeper Zećira Musovic and finding the underside of the crossbar.
Despite Sweden’s strong defense, yet, it was the Spanish side, La Roja, who exhibited resilience, maintaining their composure in the face of the most intense pressure they had encountered.