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Asisat Oshoala’s team-mate propels Spain to reach first Women’s World Cup final



Asisat Oshoala’s team-mate at Barcelona, Salma Paralluelo came off the bench to shoot Spain ahead in the 81st minute of a keenly contested semi finals with Sweden.

Aged 19 years and 275 days, she has become the second youngest player to score in a FIFA Women’s World Cup semi-final match after Canada’s Kara Lang (16y 348d) which was also against Sweden in 2003.

But in Tuesday’s contest, the Swedes fought back seven minutes later to stalemate scores. But within a minute, the pendulum swung back in Spain’s favour as Olga Carmona scored the decisive goal in the 89th minute to set up a showdown with Australia or England.


And so, Spain secured their place in a first FIFA Women’s World Cup final after battling to a 2-1 win over Sweden following a thrilling finish to the semi-final at Eden Park in Auckland.


Sweden had the best chance of the first half three minutes before half-time when Nathalie Bjorn lofted a cross to the far post but Fridolina Rolfo’s side-foot shot was pushed away by Cata Coll.

The second half was similarly cagey before Spain carved out an opening with 20 minutes ago when substitute Paralluelo kept the ball alive but Alba Redondo was unable to steer her shot inside the post.

Spain edged in front with nine minutes to go when Jenni Hermoso’s cross bounced back off Jonna Andersson and Paralluelo swept the ball home.

Sweden levelled with two minutes to go when Lina Hurtig directed a high cross to fellow substitute Rebecka Blomqvist, who steered a fine finish beyond Coll.

But Spain were back in front moments later when a corner was rolled to the edge of the penalty area to Carmona and the captain’s shot crashed in off the underside of the crossbar, with Sweden goalkeeper Zecira Musovic only getting fingertips to the ball.


Spain will now face Australia or England in the final at Stadium Australia in Sydney on Sunday.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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