Spain edges past Sweden 2-1 to secure spot in Women's World Cup final

Olga Carmona

Olga Carmona Credit: Jan Kruger - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

In an enthralling semi-final encounter at Eden Park in Auckland, Spain booked their first-ever place in a FIFA Women's World Cup final by narrowly defeating Sweden 2-1.

The match was poised for extra time until Spain captain Olga Carmona produced the match-winning moment in the 89th minute.

Sweden had created the most notable chance of a tense first half when a cross from Nathalie Bjorn found Fridolina Rolfo, whose shot was expertly denied by Spanish goalkeeper Cata Coll.

A cagey second half suddenly sprung to life in the latter stages. With 20 minutes remaining, substitute Salma Paralluelo nearly assisted Alba Redondo, but her effort went wide.

However, Paralluelo wasn't to be denied her impact on the game, slotting home after a fortunate deflection off Jonna Andersson in the 81st minute.

Sweden thought they had done enough to extend the game to extra time when substitute Rebecka Blomqvist equalized with just two minutes left on the clock.

However, Carmona's spectacular strike from a corner, which ricocheted off the crossbar and into the net, crushed Sweden's hopes.

Spain now eagerly await their final opponents, with either Australia or England set to face them at Stadium Australia in Sydney.

19-year-old Paralluelo became the second-youngest player to score in a FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-final. A record initially set by Canada's Kara Lang against Sweden back in 2003.

Post-match reactions underlined the emotional rollercoaster of the game.

Spain coach Jorge Vilda described the euphoria, "We scored the winning goal and now we have enormous happiness."

Salma Paralluelo, named Player of the Match, emphasized the team's resilience, "We've overcome every challenge and now we face the ultimate challenge, the big one."

In contrast, Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson and captain Kosovare Asllani voiced their deep disappointment.

Gerhardsson lamented, "Right now I am full of emotions. It was an enormous feeling that we scored and maybe we would go to extra time. And just over a minute later, it’s turned again."

Asllani's sentiments echoed the collective heartbreak, "A big disappointment."

Spain's history-making journey will culminate in Sydney, where they aim to cap off their impressive run with the coveted World Cup title.