It’s the Final(s) countdown for Olga Carmona and her fellow teammates…
The 23-year-old Spanish professional footballer netted a goal in the 90th minute to help seal Spain’s place in the country’s first-ever Women’s World Cup final with a dramatic 2-1 win over experienced Sweden.
The Swedes, competing in their fifth World Cup semifinal, had allowed only two goals in their five games leading up to the match. In the first half, they continued their stubborn ways, refusing to give up a goal in the first 45 minutes for a fifth match running, and dared Spain to do more with the ball.
Elin Rubensson‘s perfectly timed tackles helped avoid danger at the back, but their loose passes in attack stifled their ability to get at La Roja.
But in the 57th minute, coach Jorge Vilda changed the complexion of the Spain attack, with Salma Paralluelo brought on in place of Alexia Putellas. And it worked, with her immediate intervention enough to tee Alba Redondo up to send a shot into the side netting.
Having opened the scoring in the quarterfinals against Netherlands in the 81st minute, Spain did the same again when the impressive Paralluelo stroked the ball into the bottom corner with the team’s first shot on target.
However, there was still plenty of time for drama, as Sweden’s own super-sub Lina Hurtig got an important touch to knock the ball into Rebecka Blomqvist‘s path for the striker to fire home an 88th-minute equalizer.
The celebrations lasted only a minute though.
After a short corner routine was worked to her outside the box, Carmona, who had been chancing her luck from range all evening, launched the ball over goalkeeper Zećira Musovic and off the underside of the bar.
Sweden looked to atone for their slack defending in the final stages as they hunted another leveler, but it was La Roja who dug deep and kept their heads under the most intense pressure they’ve ever experienced.
Spain’s players did laps around the pitch after the final whistle and will have a chance to make history in their fourth major tournament under Vilda.