Spain Secure FIFA WWC Final Spot

In a highly anticipated semi-final matchup between Spain and Sweden at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, Spain emerged victorious, securing their spot in the tournament final on Tuesday, 15 August 2023.

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The match, held at Eden Park in New Zealand, marked the last game of the World Cup to be played in the country.

Both teams made strategic changes to their lineups. Spain’s coach Jorge Vilda brought in Olga Carmona and Alexia Putellas to replace Esther Gonzalez and Oihane Hernandez. The Spanish team consisted of Cata Coll as goalkeeper, along with players such as Ona Batlle, Teresa Abelleira, and Jennifer Hermoso. Peter Gerhardsson, Sweden’s coach, decided to stick with the same starting lineup that triumphed over Japan in the quarterfinals. Sweden’s team included Zecira Musovic in goal, with players like Stina Blackstenius and Magdalena Eriksson.

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As the players took the field, a few raindrops fell, adding to the atmosphere at Eden Park. With Spain donning red shirts and blue shorts and Sweden in all yellow, the stage was set for an exciting clash. Sweden started the match in a 4-2-3-1 formation, while Spain opted for a 4-1-2-3 shape.

Referee Edina Alves from Brazil blew the whistle, signalling the start of the game. Sweden took control of the ball in the early stages, showcasing their passing skills. Spain attempted some ambitious forward passes in an effort to break through Sweden’s defence, but their accuracy was slightly off.

Throughout the first half, both teams had opportunities to score. Redondo received an excellent pass from Spain’s Redondo but was tackled cleanly by Rubensson. Spain earned some free kicks, with Putellas having a chat with the referee, indicating a promising chance for a goal. However, heavy touches and missed opportunities disrupted Spain’s attack.

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Just before halftime, Sweden rallied in the closing minutes, winning a free kick and a corner. Rolfo unleashed a powerful shot, but Coll made a massive save to deny them.

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The second half began with Asllani being fouled by Carmona, resulting in a free kick for Sweden. Despite several attempts from Sweden, including a shot from Rolfo, Coll’s exceptional goalkeeping skills kept the scoreline level.

In the 58th minute, Spain made their first substitution, bringing on Paralluelo, who had scored the winning goal in the quarterfinals. She contributed immediately, laying off the ball to Hermoso, who found Redondo in the box, but the Swedish defence crowded her out.

In the 66th minute, Spain came close to scoring as Paralluelo’s header sailed just over the bar. As the game progressed, Spain made another substitution, replacing Redondo with Navarro, a decision that raised some eyebrows due to Redondo’s impressive performance.

Finally, in the 80th minute, Paralluelo broke the deadlock, bundling the ball into the net to give Spain a 1-0 lead. 

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However, celebrations were short-lived as Blomqvist equalised for Sweden in the 87th minute after a cross was headed into her path by Hurtig.

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With just minutes remaining on the clock, Spain earned a corner. Carmona stepped up and delivered an incredible strike, hitting the bar before finding the back of the net. The goal gave Spain a late 2-1 lead, breaking Swedish hearts. 

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Reflecting the intense nature of the match, seven minutes of additional time were added.

Despite Sweden’s notable victories over defending champions USA and previous champions Japan, they were unable to find a way past Spain, who secured their spot in their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup final.

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Sweden, a consistent presence in the semi-finals, will have to continue their search for a way to reach the ultimate stage of the competition.

Don’t miss out on the second semi-final between co-hosts Australia and England, on Tuesday at 12:00 CAT, at Stadium Australia. Stay updated with the report on gsport4girls across all social media platforms!

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