The first semi-finals match at the Women’s World Cup has arrived with two of the biggest nations in women’s football set to battle it out for a spot at this year’s final. Spain comes into this game after a tough battle against the Netherlands where a goal by Salma Paralluelo in extra time helped the side make it to the semis. Their opponents Sweden, who defeated Japan in their last outing are currently unbeaten in this tournament and will hope to continue the trend against the world number six.
So who will book their ticket to the Women’s World Cup final? Let’s see how these sides pan out at Eden Park.
Spain began the match holding most of the possession and continued to do so throughout the first half. Their captain Olga Carmona had a long-shot effort in the 14th minute, but her shot just fell a couple of inches wide of the goal. Not long after, Sweden’s Johanna Kaneryd had a chance to score the breakthrough but her header was wide of the goal.
Aitana Bonmati demonstrated her quality in the first half; dribbling past players with ease and creating chances for her teammates to score. The Barcelona midfielder almost assisted Jennifer Hermoso in the 23rd minute, but her cross had too much height on it for her to head it past Zecira Musovic. She had a chance in the 39th minute from just outside the box, however, Magdalena Erikson had enough pressure on her to put her shot wide.
The first major chance of the game came just before the end of the half; Nathalie Bjorn’s cross from the right wing was able to pick out Fridolona Rolfo at the back post, but the forward’s volley was saved by Cata Coll keeping the scores level into the break.
Substitute Salma Paralluelo had an immediate impact off the bench where she was heavily involved in the attacking play. In the 64th minute, Paralluelo’s header flew over the bar after an Alba Redondo cross and shortly after she did well to keep the ball in for Rendondo to have a shot at goal, but fell wide of the goal in the 70th minute.
But her contribution on the pitch was soon awarded in the 81st minute with a goal to her name. The Swedish defence wasn’t able to clear the ball properly and it fell into the path of the 19-year-old, who struck it first time into the bottom right corner to put Spain in the lead.
It wasn’t long till Sweden equalised where Lina Hurtig was able to head the ball down towards fellow substitute Rebecka Blomqvist, who hit it first time past Cata Coll giving the Swedes some hope for a potential winner.
However, the Spaniards only needed 94 seconds to score the winner where a short corner was taken and fell into the path of their captain Olga Carmona, who scored an absolute screamer to give them the win.
Spain will enter their first Women’s World Cup final on Sunday night where they will face either Australia or England in the final.