Thank you for joining me for this semi-final! Spain make it through to their first Women’s World Cup final after a thrilling end of a tense battle with Sweden. Paralluelo got Spain off the mark but Blomqvist equalised and most believed we were heading for extra time. But Carmona finished off a corner move to seal the final spot where they will face either Australia or England. That semi-final will take place tomorrow and you can follow our live coverage for that one. But for now here’s report from this last four game:
And a view from the England camp:
A great piece on some of the stars who will play in the semi-final tomorrow:
I have a fun fact for you! That was the first game at a Women’s World Cup where the first goal was scored in the final 10 minutes and ended with three goals scored.
So one finalist has been confirmed with Spain but who will join them? Australia play England tomorrow, we will be bringing you all the live coverage from that one, but here’s a taster of what is to come:
Kosovare Asllani has played so well at this World Cup and was emotional in her post-match interview for Viaplay: “I’m tired of crying big tournament tears”. Sweden reached the semi-final of the Euros last summer and the last World Cup. Today’s semi was the fifth time they have reached the World Cup semis, they also made it to the final in 2003 but were beaten by Germany.
Paralluelo has been named Player of the Match, she was only on from 57 minutes but she opened the scoring which blew the game wide open.
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Japan are the only team to ever win the World Cup after losing a group game. Spain have an opportunity to join that club after losing 4-0 to Japan in the group.
It’s worth remembering some of Spain’s stars made themselves unavailable for the World Cup squad because of a dispute with coach Jorge Vilda.
Here is the winner from Carmona (the clip is from the BBC and so some may not have access):
Sweden managed to knock out the defending champions USA, the 2011 champions Japan but Spain could not be defeated. Sweden yet to find the answer of reaching a final, consistently making the semi-finals.
Spain players are in a heap in celebrations. They cry tears of joy. The tears are also present on the faces of Swedish faces but in a crippling difference of emotion.
Full time! Spain 2-1 Sweden
Spain are through to their first Women’s World Cup final! A cagey affair opened up in the last 15 minutes with three goals. Paralluelo was the first to strike but Blomqvist quickly levelled the scoreboard. But two minutes later Carmona broke Swedish hearts with a belter of a goal from a corner. Sweden’s biggest asset eventually seeing them knocked out.
90 + 7 min: Navarro wins a free kick from Bjorn, Sweden desperate here and Spain doing well to run down the clock. They take the set piece but it eventually goes out of play.
90 + 5 min: Hurtig is fouled, Sweden try and take the free kick quickly but are pulled back. Angeldahl eventually pop is it in. It’s not initially dealt with, Ilestedt gives away a free kick and her frustration shows. Caldentey off for Gonzalez.
90 + 3 min: Sweden were back in this match for all of two minutes! I’m still a bit stunned by the last 10 minutes of this game, incredible.
90 + 1 min: I had no time to tell you Spain had won a corner, they scored so quickly! I’t’s a really well worked corner, Carmona smashed it – Musovic got a hand to it but it’s not enough. Seven minutes added.
GOAL! Spain 2-1 Sweden (Carmona, 90')
WHAT IS THIS GAME!! Carmona smacks the ball off the bar and it’s in, wow.
89 min: A game of super subs! The two replacements involved in that one. A cross came in, Hurtig headed to Blomqvist who control so well to score.
GOAL! Spain 1-1 Sweden (Blomqvist, 88')
WOW! What a hit, she smacks it after Hurtig heads it in her path.
87 min: Hurtig is on for Rubensson as Coll gets back to her feet and is okay to continue.
86 min: Kari has got in touch and said: “I think, like at the last Olympics, Sweden have been the best team at the World Cup on the balance of play. But they have one big flaw, not being able to take their chances, and that’s the one flaw you can’t afford in a knockout tournament.” Yes, the memory of Rolfo’s chance in the first half comes to mind. Back to the game and Coll is down injured here, she needs some treatment.
85 min: It’s popped in and Eriksson tries to head it to Ilestedt but it has too much on it.
84 min: Sweden have a free kick is a great area, they need to strike and fast or they are out!
83 min: Check over, goal stands! Spain breathe a sigh of relief.
83 min: Oh hang on, VAR are checking this! Is there an offside in the build-up?
82 min: Paralluelo, the super sub! She did it against the Netherlands to send them to the semi, has she just sent Spain to the final? We have eight minutes to find out but the teenager is something special.
GOAL! Spain 1-0 Sweden (Paralluelo, 81')
There it is! It’s bundled around in the box and Paralluelo sees it home.
80 min: Spain pop it in but Paralluelo can’t get there, tale of the game with neither side having the final touch or pass to put a chance to bed.
78 min: How have Sweden not scored? Kaneryd has a peach of a cross and Blackstenius makes a great run but she can’t connect! That was such a good chance with Spain’s defence in disarray. Sweden make some changes with Blackstenius and Kaneryd off for Blomqvist and Schough.
76 min: The ball is crossed to Caldentey but her hit drifts back across the goal. Blackstenius lays the ball into the box but Coll collects – the ball was out of play regardless.
74 min: Spain make another change with Redondo off for Navarro, Redondo was having a really good match so it’s an interesting call.
72 min: I honestly thought that was in! Spain with beautiful footwork, Hermoso pops in a cross – Redondo takes a chance, it was going wide but Paralluelo keeps it in. Redondo can’t direct the ball on target with the final chance. So, so close.
70 min: Abelleira takes the corner but Sweden clear, it’s headed back in though and it takes a while for Sweden to deal with it. Spain still in possession but they will have to build from deep.
68 min: Caldentey takes the free kick, it hits the wall and it’s out for a corner.
67 min: Eriksson take a bow! What a defensive effort. Paralluelo does amazingly in the box, she keeps coming but Eriksson times her tackle perfectly. Rolfo gives away a free kick on the edge of the box with an accidental kick to the head to Abelleira.
66 min: Spain look to find an opener with a great ball coming to Paralluelo from Redondo and her header is just over the bar. Asllani is the spark for Sweden again, she passes to Angeldahl but the Manchester City player has a poor touch and the chance is up in flames.
64 min: That feels like a waste of a ball, Sweden did all the hard work and then Asllani’s cross went straight to Caldeney. Carmona is then fouled and Spain can clear. Sweden come again though, Kaneryd has a stunning cross but no one is there is turn it home! That was one of the best chances of the match.
62 min: It’s got a bit rainy in New Zealand but the change of weather hasn’t impacted the game. Spain break and Bonmati has a beautiful turn but she is well marshaled by Rubensson.
60 min: Paralluelo is straight on the ball, she lays it off to Hermoso in the box who finds Redondo but she is crowded out. Hermoso is down and injured here, she remained on the ground after a tackle from Kaneryd. She is back to her feet and okay to continue though.
58 min: Rolfo with a shot now but Coll again saves. Sweden starting to light a spark here, can they blaze to a goal? We will find out. Spain make their first chance of the game with Putellas off for Paralluelo – she scored the winner in the quarter-final.
56 min: A long ball almost finds Blackstenius but she over-estimates her run, Sweden still in possession though. A pass does feed the Arsenal player but her shot is stopped by Coll.
54 min: The game has become a bit stop start, neither team opening up yet in this cagey affair.
53 min: Asllani sends this one in and Coll gets a hand to it again, she’s also fouled by Eriksson and the chance is gone.
52 min: Codina defended a long range pass and it is out for a corner.
52 min: Sweden look to capitalise on a throw in but they are judged offside. A great run from Asllani sees her pop in a good cross but Rolfo’s run doesn’t match her skill and the chance is wasted.
50 min: Caldentey spots Redondo in space, a great ball is passed but Musovic comes out to collect. Martin has got in touch and said: “Sweden will win this, no doubt”, the confidence! I don’t think I can call it at the moment.
48 min: Asllani takes the free kick she won, it’s a good delivery but Spain are first to it.
47 min: Asllani is fouled by Carmona and Sweden have an early free kick in this second half.
Back underway! Spain 0-0 Sweden
Will there be a winner in normal time? Or will we head to extra time and penalties? We will soon find out …
Who do you think will win this one? Keep your thoughts coming in to me via email and Twitter.
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A few people asking me who the referee is in this one, Edina Alves Batista is in charge.
Half time! Spain 0-0 Sweden
Well that half flew by! The best chance of the half coming from Rolfo but it is Spain who look more threatening going forward. Nothing to separate them so far.
45 + 1 min: There will be one minute added.
45 min: Andersson pings it in and Coll punches away but it falls to Blackstenius, She can’t get a clean touch on it and it’s cleared.
44 min: Andersson takes the corner but Coll watches it all the way and punches clear. Angeldahl does well to win another corner though. Sweden starting to throw punches now.
43 min: The free kick comes to the right and it’s about to be crossed but Carmona sees it out for a throw. It is well worked into the box, it falls to Rolfo who rifles off a powerful shot but Coll makes a huge save! It’s out for a corner.
42 min: A miscommunication as Rubensson’s throw in comes to Eriksson but she was not expecting it, the defender manages to control the ball though and passes to Musovic to clear. Sweden win a free kick from inside their own half and so will build from deep.
40 min: Some heavy touches from Spain just disrupting their attack at the moment, Bonmati does get a chance though after a great turn. Her shot is wide.
38 min: Paredes and Blackstenius collide, both were going for the ball and are okay to continue. Sweden work it into the box with Asllani but she is dispossessed by Paredes.
36 min: The ball finds Hermoso in the box again but she can’t get a clear chance and Sweden clear!
35 min: It’s pinged in but Sweden head away, it comes to Putellas and she pops it in. Eriksson does well to head away as Hermoso was going to pounce! It is out for a corner.
34 min: The free kick is popped to Carmona on the edge of the box but Bjorn wrestles her off and wins it back. Another free kick for Spain and Putellas has a word with the referee, this is a good opportunity.
32 min: The game’s flow is so disrupted, there will be a spell of calm possession and suddenly there’s a chance. There’s not a clear cut stream of play. Kaneryd made a great run to get back on a powerful pass but she is played off the ball and Spain once again have the ball. Angeldahl fouls and Spain have a free kick on ha;fway.
30 min: Andersson does well to expel Spain’s latest chance with Hermoso trying to pounce on a Caldentey cross. Putellas is fouled by Rubensson, the Swede not happy with that call.
28 min: Bjorn fouls Carmona and Spain have a free kick, it’s quite a way from goal and they play it short. Sweden win it back and Asllani tries to find Angeldahl but Coll collects.
26 min: Carmona puts in a long range effort but it’s miles over the bar. Spain are growing more and more here.
24 min: What a ball that is for Redondo, she passes to Hermoso but Rubensson does really well to tackle her cleanly in the box.
23 min: The game has some fluidity to it, a good start. Juan has got in touch and said: “Of course the only way to sooth nerves is to start a tortilla in front of the telly: long, tedious prep work then a short last touch that can easily be done at half-time. By the time this game is over, you have your tapas and an excuse to open some cava in case there are disappointing news from Eden Park.” A very well-timed snack.
21 min: Blackstenius is offside now in Sweden’s latest attack. Just a lack of clinical edge so far. My word! Musovic makes a save from a Bonmati shot.
19 min: Sweden doing everything right until the final pass which either had too much on it or goes to a Spanish player. Rolfo particularly good on the front foot.
17 min: Spain are looking the stronger side but Sweden are able to hang in a match and get the result, just ask the USA.
15 min: Ah I thought it took a deflection for a corner but it didn’t, a goal kick. Sweden immediately lay down their own attacking marker with Kaneryd almost in! But she was offside.
14 min: Sweden try and feed Blackstenius but it has too much on it, Coll can clear. Oh this is so slick from Spain, Bonmati cutting through the Swedish defence – it comes to Carmona outside the box and it’s almost in! A Spain corner to come.
12 min: Redondo crosses but it doesn’t meet a teammate, Eriksson has a word with her teammates after Spain’s latest chance. That was the messiest bit of defending from Sweden all tournament – the ball came in and Redondo popped it on from the far post. Musovic was out of position and Eriksson only cleared so far, eventually they get it away but wow!
10 min: A long range pass tries to find the run of Redondo but it’s over her head and out for a goal kick. Spain, unsurprisingly, in more possession now – Sweden would have been anticipating this and so far their are containing it well. Elizabeth has emailed and said: “You say the Spanish anthem was louder in the stands. How did they manage that? It has no words. Did they la la la?” Apologies, I should have explained myself better! More cheering and making their presence known.
8 min: A lot of midfield battles happening at the moment, no clear cut chances at goal yet.
6 min: Blackstenius with some lovely footwork on the edge of the area but her last pass only meets a Spanish defender. It’s then popped back in but Coll collects. Sweden come again but a pass to Andersson has way too much on it.
4 min: Spain have their first spell on the ball and the Swedish defenders look like wasps in their yellow kit as they crowd out the attacking threat. Caldentey pops in a cross but it comes straight to Musovic.
2 min: Sweden have had all the ball so far but are definitely settling into this one, they pass through the team but will no real purpose.
Kick-off! Spain 0-0 Sweden
Here we go then! Spain have never beat Sweden, can they make history and enact a victory? Or can Sweden keep their march to the trophy going? All to come …
A wall of noise met the players. The Spanish anthem could be heard in the stands and was louder than the Swedish but it seems like there are a lot of neutral fans in Eden Park – I don’t think that will make this cauldron of legendary sporting events any less tense.
The players are out on the pitch and the anthems will follow! I’ll let you know what the atmosphere is like after the anthems play, kick-off is imminent in this packed stadium!
The supporters have broken records and created amazing atmospheres at this tournament so let’s take a closer look at them:
Will Sam Kerr start or be on the bench for Australia’s semi-final against England? Find out what we know here:
This is just the first of the two semi-finals with Australia v England being played tomorrow. Here’s a good preview of the game which is sure to be a close encounter:
I think I should rename snack chat, so many yummy meals being sent in! Graeme is the latest: “Well into wine o’clock here in Auckland so accompanying my seafood salad with a lovely local Sav!” A great accompaniment there, I’m only slightly jealous!
How are all the four final teams looking ahead of the matches? This piece will help you figure it out:
Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall has written about today’s match and he cannot wait for it, read the piece:
Leigh has emailed and sorted me a great bit of advice: “Highly recommend a good tomato relish with your Bacon and Egg Roll (sandwich). A truly life changing discovery. Looking forward to the match, and even more so to the Matildas tomorrow. Sent from the other side of the planet, but united in the B&E love!” I don’t have any relish to hand but I definitely will the next time I have one!
If the two sides cannot be split on the scoreboard after 120 minutes of football we will head to a shootout. How do teams prepare for such events I hear you ask, have a read of this and find out:
Jane has got involved in the snack debate, saying: “No snacks here in NZ. The full slow cooked lamb, mashed potatoes and greens - glass of Pinot noir thank you. Looking forward to your MBM. We off to Sydney Thursday for final - 3 football mad families mixture of English, Scottish, Welsh and Kiwi with 3 teenage daughters who have played football together since they were 7 yrs old.” What an amazing meal to accompany this match! Enjoy the final, whichever teams make it it will be an incredible game.
Have you been keeping up to date with our free weekly women’s football newsletter, Moving the Goalposts? It brings you exclusive interviews, guest columnists and all the news you need to know, you can sign up here:
I had a request for some snack chat the last time I was on a blog and so I thought I would pop some here. It is quite early in the morning here in England, 8am, so I’ve gone with a bit of a lavish breakfast of bacon and egg sandwich. What are you having to snack on for this one? Let me know via Twitter or email.
There are two key players who could sway this match today, here you can read up on them:
Sweden team news
Sweden make no changes to the starting line-up who defeated Japan. Amanda Ilestedt a goal and an assist away from topping the Golden Boot standings.
Starting XI: Musovic; Bjorn, Ilestedt, Eriksson, Andersson; Angeldahl, Asslani, Rubensson; Kaneryd, Blackstenius, Rolfo
A good piece from Jonathan Liew on Spain’s journey to the semi-final:
Sweden have not yet released their team news but as soon as they do I’ll update you! Let’s have a look at some other pieces while we wait …
Spain team news
Jorge Vilda has made two changes to the team who beat the Netherlands. Oihane Hernandez and Esther Gonzalez are out for Olga Carmona and Alexia Putellas.
Starting XI: Coll; Batlle, Paredes, Codina, Carmona; Bonmati, Abelleira, Putellas; Redondo, Caldentey; Hermoso.
A World Cup semi-final. Ninety minutes, plus potential extra time and penalties, between one team and the final every team has been aiming for. The other side left heartbroken at going so far only to be dumped out. First up in the last four is Spain v Sweden and what match up this will be.
Sweden have produced good defensive performances. They have only conceded one goal, which came against Japan in the quarter-final, and their goalkeeper Zećira Mušović has been a brick wall in goal – especially in their last-16 win over defending champions the US.
Spain, meanwhile, have suffered some blows in the tournament – namely their 4-0 group stage loss to Japan. But the team have rallied and overcome Switzerland and the Netherlands to reach the semi-final. They have attacking threats across the pitch and will be gunning for that final spot.
The teams will be naming their starting line-ups shortly and so stay tuned as I will bring you all the updates from that. Kick-off coming in an hour-and-a-half’s time.