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Spain advances to first Women’s World Cup final with wild finish

Spain's Jenni Hermoso celebrates with teammates Alexia Putellas, Laia Codina and Irene Paredes after her team's game-winning goal against Sweden in the World Cup semifinals. (Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)

Spain advances to its first-ever Women’s World Cup final following a wild finish to its semifinal match against Sweden.

Neither team scored until the final 10 minutes of Tuesday’s contest, but Spain’s Salma Paralluelo opened the floodgates with her goal in the 81st minute. Rebecka Blomqvist pulled Sweden even in the 88th minute, and the game seemed destined for extra time — until Olga Carmona scored off a set piece less than one minute later to send Spain to the championship match.

“I am euphoric,” Carmona said. “I can’t wait for the final. I have never experienced anything like it in football.”

Spain and Sweden’s frantic ending marks the first Women’s World Cup match in which the first goal was scored in the last 10 minutes and at least three goals were scored overall.

“It was a magic moment once again,” said Paralluelo, who scored the game-winner against the Netherlands in the quarterfinal round for her first World Cup goal. “It’s something that’s very unique when I scored that first goal and to be able to repeat this is really incredible.”

Sweden’s fifth World Cup semifinal ended in familiar fashion, as Sweden became the first team to lose four times at this stage of the tournament. Despite playing in five semifinals, Sweden has reached a World Cup final just once, which resulted in a 2-1 loss to Germany in 2003.

La Roja entered the 2023 tournament without a win in any World Cup knockout round. Their third win in a row propels them to the final at 6 a.m. ET Sunday, where they will face the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between England and home team Australia.