Spain knocked out Sweden in the semis to advance to their first Women’s World Cup final tonight.

Fans were kept on the edge of their seats in a tight match, that opened up in the last 10 minutes of normal time, finishing 2-1.

The two European football powerhouses took to Auckland’s Eden Park, after both enjoyed strong runs in the competition – with Sweden undefeated and Spain taking a single loss to Japan.

This is only Spain’s third World Cup, and their first time in the semi-final. Sweden has been a constant qualifier for the semis, and took out Japan to make their fifth semi-final.

Throughout the tournament, Sweden’s defense and turnovers were significant in producing consistent results. Spain’s success lied in their disciplined structure, passing and creating opportunities to score.

The same patterns were maintained tonight, with Spain having 63 per cent of possession through constant passing and communication between players. The team eventually had more passes and a much higher passing accuracy than Sweden (78 per cent to 61 per cent).

Support in the stadium seemed to favour Spain, with many dressed in the nation’s colours, holding the flag and chanting in Spanish throughout the match.

The team created 13 opportunities but only two of these were on target – but both went in.

Contrarily, Sweden only had six shots, three of which were on target, and one scoring. Whilst they averaged more accurate shots, they could not overpower Spain’s dominance on the ball.

After the match Spain’s coach Jorge Vilda praised his side.

“I’m proud of my team and of what we’ve achieved,” he said. “We’re extremely happy.

‘If you go into the dressing room now, it’s incredible how they’re celebrating. We’re going to Sydney tomorrow and we want to win.”

The intensity of the game brought both teams to high physicality throughout the match, with 13 fouls against Sweden and six against Spain. While the first 80 minutes were scoreless, both teams kept things interesting with a constant drive to win, taking shots as early as two minutes in. Goalkeepers Zecira Musovic (Sweden) and Cata Coll (Spain) were certainly kept busy for the game’s duration.

Alba Redondo and Olga Carmona challenged Sweden’s defensive lock and made numerous attempts at goal. Carmona particularly has had an impressive game amidst a long recovery from a knee surgery in March. Sweden took their first big chance at the end of the first half but was denied a celebration by Spain’s goalkeeper Musovic.


At half time, both teams composed themselves for a daunting 45 minutes. Each came out strongly.

With Sweden playing at their best and captain Kosovare Asllani consistently creating opportunities for her teammates, Spain brought out powerhouse Salma Paralleulo, and Spain immediately regained composure. Within the next 20 minutes, Spain maintained eight per cent possession over the ball, and had two more close chances.

One of these consisted of Redondo falling over after a touch, Paralleulo bringing it back in to play where Redondo attempted to kick it in off the ground. At 70 minutes, the goal was so close that fans and players were sure it went in.

Finally, with 10 minutes to go, the ball crossed into Spain’s Eva Navarro, who instinctively kicked into the goal by Paralleulo. While fans were quick to celebrate, the goal was reviewed due to Navarro potentially being in the goalkeeper’s line of vision. With the goal being awarded, Paralleulo claimed her eighth goal in 13 games and Spain became the leading scorer in the tournament with 16 goals.

Many fans took to Twitter to announce that the game was over at that point, to which Sweden proved wrong with an equalising goal at 87 minutes by Rebecka Blomqvist into the top right corner.

Both teams hoped to avoid extra time, playing with great intensity. Spain regained possession and just a minute and a half after Blomqvist’s game changing goal, Carmona scored the match-winner at 89 minutes that smashed in on the underside of the crossbar.

With seven minutes added for injury time, Sweden fought harder to equalise once again. With a close shot in the last play, the team’s hopes of making their first grand final were denied by a save from Musovic.

Emotion flooded the field at the whistle, with players, fans and coaches dropping to the ground. Spain celebrated with chants, hugs and cheering as they reached a milestone. Swedish players were comforted by their teammates and coaches, leaving the field disappointed and heartbroken.

Paralluelo was named Player of the Match.

Spain’s opponent in the final will be decided tomorrow night in the Matildas vs England semi-final. The winner will face Spain on Sunday night for the title. Sweden will face the losing team on Saturday night for a bronze medal.

Image of match-winner Olga Carmona courtesy Optus Sport.