ESP
Spain
2
FT
1
SWE
Sweden
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Spain advance to Women's World Cup final, eliminate Sweden after a thrilling, rapid-fire, three-goal ending

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Spain are off to their first Women's World Cup final after a 2-1 win over Sweden in Auckland on Tuesday, with a thrilling finish that saw all three goals scored in the final 10 minutes of the game.

Despite the stature of a World Cup semifinal, the first half played out in tepid fashion. Sweden played a high defensive line that challenged Spain, who were able to dominate in possession as usual, but could not create a ton of meaningful chances at goal as a result. Olga Carmona took the game's first shot in the 12th minute from distance, but the ball flew just wide of the goal. Sweden got forward pretty infrequently and only notched their first shot of the game in the 42nd minute through Fridolina Rolfo. The first half ended with just five shots, one on goal courtesy of Rolfo.

The second half slowly but surely opened up as both teams searched for a goal, with Sweden applying more pressure on Spain's defense and Spain racking up more shots. Both teams still struggled to create quality chances, but Spain finally took their first shot on target in the 81st minute and just so happened to score. Substitute Salma Paralluelo made a smart run into the center of the box and swiftly scored once the ball landed at her feet for her second goal in as many games.

Sweden charged at goal more fiercely than ever with their World Cup campaign on the line, and found the equalizer just seven minutes later through fellow substitute Rebecka Blomqvist. Lina Hurtig flicked the ball toward Blomqvist, who was in the center of the penalty area and scored with ease.

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That resurgence from Sweden was short lived, though. Teresa Abelleira took a short corner for Spain and sent it straight to Carmona, who took a shot on the edge of the penalty area and scored in the 89th minute.

Spain await the winner of England-Australia in the final in Sydney on Sunday, while the loser of the second semifinal will head to Brisbane to face Sweden, who will compete in the third-place match for the fifth time.

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FULL TIME: Spain 2, Sweden 1

It was a relatively tame affair for 80 minutes and then it exploded to life. What a finish as Spain head to their first ever World Cup final.

August 15, 2023, 9:55 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:55 am EDT
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Substitution: Esther Gonzalez in for Mariona Caldentey

95' -- Spain trying to get to the final whistle

August 15, 2023, 9:54 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:54 am EDT
 
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Seven minutes of stoppage time

Well this game certainly came to life with three late late goals to turn it into an absolutely gripping affair. Is there another turn left?

August 15, 2023, 9:48 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:48 am EDT
 
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GOAL SPAIN: Spain 2, Sweden 1

90' -- A corner kick, to the edge of the box and a laser beam from Olga rifles in off the bottom of the cross bar. What a finish!

August 15, 2023, 9:46 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:46 am EDT
 
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GOAL SWEDEN: Spain 1, Sweden 1

88' -- Substitute to substitute. Lina Hurtig had just come into the match in the 87th minute and she played it across to Bloomqvist

August 15, 2023, 9:44 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:44 am EDT
 
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GOAL SPAIN: Spain 1, Sweden 0

81' -- Paralluelo puts Spain on top. She's been the star since she came in. A cross to the back post from Hermoso was dealt with poorly by Sweden and knocked back towards the penalty spot where Paralluelo pounced. She placed the ball in the corner despite two Sweden defenders all over. The goal survived a VAR check as well to assertain whether a Spanish player in an offside player interfered, but was ruled as good. 

August 15, 2023, 9:37 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:37 am EDT
 
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Double sub for Sweden

77' -- Schough and Blomqvist come in for Kaneryd and Blackstenius as Sweden look for a late shake up to get a goal and avoid extra time. 

August 15, 2023, 9:37 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:37 am EDT
 
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15 minutes of regulation to go

Spain still haven't had a shot on target, and Sweden have had two, but as the match has gone on both sides have become somewhat more attacking and the shot totals have increased. Despite not testing the keeper Spain have 10 shots to Sweden's three. After a cagey first half, both sides have had their moments of danger here in the second.

August 15, 2023, 9:33 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:33 am EDT
 
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Substitution: Eva Maria Navarro on for Alba Redondo

72' -- Minutes after almost scoring form her back it's Redondo who makes way for Navarro as Spain look to turn a spell of dominance into a goal, finally.

August 15, 2023, 9:30 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:30 am EDT
 
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Spain hit the side net

69' -- From her back from point blank range Redondo hits the sit netting after an amazing cutback from Paralluelo, it was the best chance of the match by far and once again Paralluelo the lone substitute of the match was at the middle of it.

August 15, 2023, 9:28 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:28 am EDT
 
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Salma Paralluelo looks dangerous

67' -- Since coming on for Putellas, Paralluelo has been involved in several dangerous attacks for Spain, getting in behind on the left hand side and looking a constant threat with the ball at her feet running in the channel looking to cut back for herself or a teammate.

August 15, 2023, 9:24 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:24 am EDT
 
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Sweden continue to grow into the match

62' -- No goals yet (and not many shots) but Sweden continue to up the pressure in the second half. Asllani is drifting from her 10 position into the right channel and combining to crate the kinds of chances that Sweden like, crisp crosses and cut backs towards Blackstinius.

Spain meanwhile are starting to threaten a little more as well, using Sweden's increased aggression against them as they attack a little more quickly over the top. All of a sudden, a goal in this game feels more likely.

August 15, 2023, 9:21 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:21 am EDT
 
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Alexia Putellas subbed out

57' -- Putellas, as it turns out, only had a little less than an hour in her legs before Salma Paralluelo came on for, and immediately created a dangerous opportunity for Spain with a run in behind and a square ball which Sweden just about did enough to deal with, but not without a moment of dangerous chaos.

August 15, 2023, 9:15 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:15 am EDT
 
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Sweden's in-swinging corner kicks

52' -- They haven't had many chances to pull it off in this match, with only three corner kicks so far, but Sweden continue to try and find joy by hitting in-swinging corners and keeping bodies in front of the opposition keeper to keep her from coming to claim/ The most recent one resulted in a foul call, but the tactic still seems like the one most likely to lead to a goal for Sweden.

August 15, 2023, 9:10 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:10 am EDT
 
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Early pressure from Sweden

51' -- It hasn't yet resulted in any, you know, shots, but Sweden is pushing more early in the second half putting a handful of balls into the box and finding joy down the right hand side to force Spain to defend in their own penalty area.

August 15, 2023, 9:08 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:08 am EDT
 
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Second half underway

Let's see if we can get something a little more vibrant than what the first 45 minutes brought.

August 15, 2023, 9:02 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 5:02 am EDT
 
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Nine fouls, Five shots

That stat pretty accurately sums up the first half.

August 15, 2023, 8:54 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:54 am EDT
 
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Halftime 0-0

It was not the most vibrant of halves. Five total shots, with one on target is not the hallmark of gripping stuff. Spain kept possession well but couldn't do much with it, Sweden wanted to counterattack but created very few opportunities to do so. We'll see if the second half brings a change of pace if one side or the other pushes to open up the match or if this is destined for extra time and even penalties.

August 15, 2023, 8:48 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:48 am EDT
 
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Spell of pressure from Sweden

Just before the half, Sweden finally had their first spell of pressure, with one deep turnover and a couple of corner kicks which Spain did just enough to handle and clear. It wasn't much, but it was more than Sweden had mustered for the rest of the first half.

August 15, 2023, 8:45 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:45 am EDT
 
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Sweden with the best chance of the match

42 -- Finally a shot on target and it comes for Sweden. They turned Spain over deep in Spanish territory and crossed immediately to the back post where Rolfo's volley was palmed away. Spain managed to clear the ensuing corner as well

August 15, 2023, 8:44 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:44 am EDT
 
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Three shots, no goals for Spain

38' -- After a long stretch of possession, Spain once again created a chance. This time, it was Bonmati from the top of the 18-yard-box flashing wide. Still no real dangerous moments for Spain, but at least they're creating more than Sweden. 

August 15, 2023, 8:40 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:40 am EDT
 
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Spain attack, Sweden recover

30' -- The pattern of this match is now well established. A hard fought battle in midfield which Spain eventually wins by finding joy over the top to the wingers. At which point Sweden recover quickly to smother any danger. Goals look like they'll be hard to come by and will happen if either Spain manages to turn one of those brief moments of space down the wings into a real chance or if Sweden can force a turnover during Spain's long stretches of possession and turn it into a counter attack. Neither of those things seem particularly likely half an hour in.

August 15, 2023, 8:32 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:32 am EDT
 
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Spain get shot number 2

A hopeful shot from distance from Carmona that doesn't bother the keeper. Still, a shot is a shot, and the match has now had two of the,.

August 15, 2023, 8:26 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:26 am EDT
 
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Spain gets in behind

24' -- Spain play over the top and wide to Redondo. She cuts the ball back to Hermose, but Sweden recover to smother out the danger before Spain can get a shot off. So far the match has had three fouls, two offsides, and one shot.

August 15, 2023, 8:25 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:25 am EDT
 
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Spain exert pressure

21' -- With very little to threaten in this match, what counts for chances is anything vaguely heading toward the net. Spain once again kept the ball in their attacking third before a chipped cross went through on Sweden's goal for the keeper to collect. We continue to wait for a breakthrough from either side.

August 15, 2023, 8:23 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:23 am EDT
 
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Spain take a shot

14' -- Shot watch is officially over. Spain's Carmona takes the first shot of the match, a hopeful effort from outside the box after a long stretch of possession from Spain. It was a a dangerous attempt that flashed just wide. Spain are beginning to exert control over the match, possessing the ball. The question is now can they turn it into more chances or will Sweden catch them on the counter.

August 15, 2023, 8:15 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:15 am EDT
 
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Spain threaten for the first time

10' - Spain create the first dangerous opportunity of the match turning a turnover into a cross to the back post which was nodded back in front, although not leading to a shot. Despite the dangerous opportunity we're still waiting for our first shot of the match.

August 15, 2023, 8:13 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:13 am EDT
 
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Cagey early exchanges

Through five minutes neither team looks like they're eager to take any risks, and the match has yet to see a single shot. One notable tactical wrinkle, Sweden are not eager to concede possession to Spain, instead pushing their defensive line high, and constricting space in midfield, leading to a muddy series of opening exchanges. The thing to watch for is whether this leads to Spain looking to find space behind Sweden's back line.

August 15, 2023, 8:07 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:07 am EDT
 
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Spain vs. Sweden underway

And we're underway. This will be a clash of tactical styles with Sweden looking to use their set piece ability and athletic speed and size as Spain look to use possession to create chances from open play. It should be an intriguing affair

August 15, 2023, 8:01 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 4:01 am EDT
 
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Alexia Putellas starts

The big lineup news for Spain is that Putellas is on the field for them in midfield. The superstar Barcelona midfielder has been making her way back to fitness for the team during the tournament. She started one group stage game, but did not start in either the round of 16 against Switzerland where she came on as a substitute in the 77th minute or the quarterfinals against the Netherlands where she didn't come on until extra time.

It remains to see how long Putellas can go, now that she'll be on the field from the opening whistle, and if this match were to head into extra time and possibly even penalties if she'd be able to remain on the field for the most crucial moments her team will play in the tournament. 

August 15, 2023, 7:49 AM
Aug. 15, 2023, 3:49 am EDT
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