Spain, an emerging nation of women’s football, qualified for the semi-finals of a World Cup for the first time, beating the Netherlands, vice-world champions in title, on Friday August 11 (2-1 ap ), at the end of a meeting with twists and turns. A little later, Sweden, beating Japan (2-1), also climbed for the fifth time in nine appearances in the last four.
La Roja will meet Sweden on Tuesday August 15 to extend their dream of winning a first major title. The Spaniards, one of the youngest selections in the competition, avoided the hold-up of the Dutch thanks to a goal in extra time (111th) from Salma Paralluelo, 19 years old. The FC Barcelona striker unlocked the match a few seconds after a missed qualifying ball by Lineth Beerensteyn for the Oranje. ” It’s impressive to see how the players have grown in the face of adversity with Salma’s goal ,” said Spanish coach Jorge Vilda. The scenario seems cruel for the Netherlands who, although dominated, showed character to equalize during additional time in regulation time, by Stefanie van der Gragt (90th + 1).
Sweden eliminated the last two world champion selections
La Roja had opened the scoring a little earlier by Mariona Caldentey, from the penalty spot (81st). After the United States, Germany, Brazil, or Canada, the competition says goodbye to a new cador, who had reached the final in 2019 (lost to the United States). Driven by the professionalization of its clubs, Spain embodies the recent development of women’s football, where the level gap between long-established nations and their competitors has narrowed considerably.
In the other match of the day, Sweden secured their ticket to the final by beating Japan in Auckland. The Scandinavians scored through Amanda Ilestedt (32nd) and Filippa Angeldahl (51st from the penalty spot), before the Japanese score was reduced by Honoka Hayashi (87th). The Japanese pushed in vain during the ten minutes of added time to snatch extra time.
Sweden has achieved the feat of having eliminated the last two world champion selections, the United States double defending champions in the round of 16 (0-0 after, 5-4 on pens), then Japan, crowned in 2011.