Spain 2-1 Sweden
Spain have never won against Sweden before on the big stage and decided that the first time they’d defeat Sweden would be to pass to the finals. Below are my views on Spain’s dramatic semifinal match.
Spain’s Jorge Vilda decided on more changes in the line-up from the quarter-finals game. Codina took Ivana’s place after a superb game from the captain against the Netherlands. Ona was on instead of Oihane who has a one-game suspension due to card accumulation. Alexia took Esther’s place by moving Hermoso up in attack to accompany Redondo and Caldentey. Real Madrid’s Olga Carmona captained Spain.
The match started off slow, with both teams playing with caution from beginning. Sweden went on to press Spain from the start, trying to recover possession whenever they could since Spain played how they were used to - playing on possession. The first dangerous chance came in 12’ when the ball from a dead angle tried to reach Hermoso’s head who was positioned a couple of meters from the goal line. Luckily for the Swedes, the defenders acted quickly to clear the ball. Two minutes later, Real Madrid’s Olga shot from outside the area trying to take advantage of the fact that Mušović’s view on the ball was obstructed. The ball went just wide with Carmona stating that one of the Swedes touched the ball asking for a corner kick.
The rest of the first half went in the same dynamic, with a couple more of long attempts from Olga and then Aitana. Swedes didn’t let Spaniards enter the box much, so la Roja had to turn to long attempts and crossing inside if they wanted to create danger. Teresa was up against Asllani and Rölfo in the middle while Olga combined well with Caldentey on the left flank.
However, the last 5 minutes of the first half had more action on the other side when Björn sent a cross to Rölfo on the far post where Cata Coll had to intervene. Sweden finally managed to get what they were aiming for - corner kicks in which they have an upper hand. They had two corner kicks in the next two minutes after which Coll managed to box the ball away.
Despite all the efforts from both sides, the score remained goalless at the end of the first 45 minutes. Spain dominated most of the half after which Sweden took over in the finishing minutes.
As soon as the second half started, Olga committed a foul giving Sweden a freekick. The former Real Madrid player, Kosovare Asllani, took the set piece and tried to get it onto someone’s head. Despite having the upper hand in the set pieces, Swedes were read by Spain and the set piece went without much danger for Spain’s goal.
The half started with the first few minutes being played on Spain’s side, after which the game got balanced out again. After the substitution Vilda made, Paralluelo on for Alexia, in 57’, Spaniards earned a few set pieces, all taken by Teresa. Another excitement happened in 70’ where Hermoso crossed the ball in for Redondo, but she couldn’t capitalize, the ball found Paralluelo who pushed the ball back to Redondo to shoot from the ground. The attempt went just wide. It was the last thing Redondo would do in the match as she got subbed off for Navarro minutes later.
In 82’ cross from Jenni Hermoso bounced off a Swedish defender straight to Paralluelo who gave Spain the lead. There was a VAR check over because of Navarro who was positioned offside near the post in which Paralluelo shot. Ultimately it was decided that she didn’t affect the play in any way and goal was given.
However, that was only the start of the drama. In 88’ Hurtig found Blomqvist in Spain’s box to equalize. Thinking that Sweden had shocked Spain, la Roja struck a minute later after winning a corner kick. A short corner taken by Teresa Abelleira arrives to Olga who decided to test her luck and shot high into the net, hitting it under the crossbar and giving Spain a late lead!
SPAIN SCORE IN THE 89TH MINUTE AND IT’S A SCREAMER— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) August 15, 2023
Olga Carmona that is UNBELIEVABLE.
And it could win it for La Roja and send them to the final!
Watch https://t.co/In5bheAX2P#FIFAWWC #OptusSport pic.twitter.com/IwqPDqig8Y
The final 8 minutes of the encounter consisted of Spain trying to keep it under control until the final whistle, which they managed to do. Spain are through to their first ever World Cup finals!