2023 FIFA Women´s World Cup semi-final – Spain v Sweden

by Lorraine Williamson
Spain v Sweden

FOOTBALL – The first of the 2023 FIFA Women´s World Cup Semi-final matches kicked off this morning. It was Spain v Sweden.

Noteably, this was the first time ever the Spanish side had ever reached a semi-final in this competition. Whereas, for Sweden it is their fifth time. Having said that, Spain started out as odds on favourites to win within the 90 minutes.

Spain v Sweden

It took the first 10 minutes of the game for both teams to settle down with nothing to choose between the sides. But then, Spain had the first real chance at goal and caused panic in the Swedish defence. Carmona had a good run down the left side and sent the ball onto the post. Redonda managed to keep it in play, and headered it into the 6-yard box before Eriksson got it away. Then, once again, Sweden didn´t manage to clear their lines, and Battle got to the ball on the edge of the box. She squared it to Hermoso who pulled it back for Carmona who hit the ball just wide of the target.

A couple of minutes later, Sweden got the ball into the box for the first time, but the flag was up for offside. Then Rolfo was again involved as she made a good  run through the middle, but was crowded out by the Spanish defence.

30 minutes in, and still 0-0

As the game moved closer to the 30-minute mark, it was still 0-0 and not much between the sides, although Spain appeared to have the edge.

The next 10 minutes saw a few more nervous moments for the Swedish side. Bonmati sent the ball in, but Paredes couldn´t get to it, instead, it hit off the post. Putellas connected on the rebound, but Eriksson prevented her cross to Hermoso, and cleared it from the danger area. Then Rubensson took a throw in, but Eriksson was taken by suprise and it bounced beyond her grasp. However, she managed to recover and collect the ball just before Redondo got to it on the edge of the box.

After that point, the game seemed to pivot, and Sweden were fighting back and putting all the pressure on the Spanish side. A mistake from Carmona when she didn´t clear the ball properly, meant it ended up straight towards Bjorn. Bjorn reacted by sending a cross into the box for Rolfo, but Coll pushed it wide.

One minute before the end of the first half, and Sweden won a corner. This was a very tense moment as throughout the World Cup stages, Sweden became known for their successful set pieces. From their previous games, 8 out of 11 set pieces resulted in goals. However, this time, it was not to be as Coll got a glove to it. With only one minute added for stoppage time, the first half ended 0-0.

Second half

Right from the start of the second half, Sweden came out strong. They put the pressure on and controlled the pace of the game leaving Spain to do all the chasing. Then, in the 57th minute of play, Spain made their first substitution. Putellas came off, and on came 19-year-old Paralluelo who scored the winner against the Netherlands securing Spain´s place in the semi-finals.

Cogesa Expats

Immediately Paralluelo was involved in the action when Carmona sent the ball ahead of Paralluelo to chase. The former 400 metre runner chased the ball and passed it for Hermoso who squared it to Redondo. But it was off target. The atmosphere had completely changed. Spain were right back in the game.

The next 20 minutes or so saw chances for both sides with end to end play. Then on the 70th minute, it looked like Spain had scored when Hermoso passed the ball in from the left and sent the cross into the edge of the 6-yard box for Redondo. Redondo couldn´t quite get to it and fell in front of goal in her attempt. But Paralello kept the ball in and sent it to Redondo who was still on the ground and was  amazingly still able to strike from that position. However, the ball hit the wrong side of the net. Spain had a new lease of life since Paralluelo came on.

And then it came…

Carmona pushed the ball up the pitch and it was brought down by Hermosa who attempted to send it to Navarro, but it hit off the Swedish defence and into the path of Paralluelo who instinctively saw a tiny space through the denfence and found the bottom corner of the net. It was 1-0 for Spain, but then anxious moments as VAR reviewed the goal in case of possible interference by Navarro. The goal stood, and just 10 minutes were remaining on the clock.

Immediately following the goal came a dangerous free kick from Sweden, but no-one reached it.

But that all changed when Sweden got the equaliser just 2 minutes from normal time. Blomqvist headered the ball from close range into the net.

94 seconds later

The atmosphere was incredible. In the last 10 minutes of the game, Spain went one up, and surely thought they had done enough, when just over 2 minutes to go, Sweden equalised. At that point it was looking like it would go to extra time. But an incredible 94 seconds after Sweden scored, Spain scored again. This time from a corner. Carmona received the ball on the edge of the box. She was unmarked, and send a powerful shot into the top corner.

Seven minutes of stoppage time were added. Sweden threw everything at Spain, but the Spanish side held their own.

History in the making

The final whistle sounded and Spain were through to the 2023 FIFA Women´s World Cup Final for the first time ever. The match will take place on Sunday at 12 noon against either the Lionesses or the Matildas. Sweden will play against the losing side between England and Australia in the play-off for 3rd place. This was the fourth time that Sweden have failed at the semi-final stage. That game will take place on Saturday at 10.00 am

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