Salma Paralluelo, a teenager, scored the game-winning goal in extra time to give Spain a 2-1 win over the Netherlands at the Women’s World Cup on Friday. This set up a matchup with either Japan or Sweden in the semi-finals.
During a tight and eventful 90 minutes in Wellington, Spain’s Mariona Caldentey scored a penalty in the 81st minute. However, Dutch defender Stefanie van der Gragt tied the game 10 minutes into extra time.
The quarter-final looked like it was going to go to penalties, but in the 111th minute, 19-year-old replacement Paralluelo scored a great goal on his own to put Spain into the last four for the first time.
They will now play either Sweden or Japan in Auckland on Tuesday, while the Dutch, who were the runner-up four years ago, are out of the game.
“It’s hard now,” said Van der Gragt, whose last football game was eventful: he gave up a penalty for handball, then tied the score, but Paralluelo’s late goal made the difference.
“We had a chance to score in overtime, but we didn’t. They had one chance, and they scored. This is football.”
It was a prize for the sixth-ranked La Roja, who have gotten their confidence back after losing to Japan 4-0 in the group stage. They played controlled, pressing football to earn the goal.
Most of the 90 minutes of regular time were controlled by Spain and some VAR decisions, but the Netherlands looked better in extra time until Paralluelo scored on a breakaway in the second half.
– VAR is involved –
In the first half, Spain, led by Jorge Vilda, had 11 straight shots on goal.
The wall saved the Dutch twice in a row when Daphne van Domselaar deflected Alba Redondo’s header onto the post, and then Redondo’s follow-up shot almost hit the same spot low on the left post.
The Spain skipper, Esther Gonzalez, who was always a threat, smashed a shot into the goal after Redondo missed the ball, but VAR decided that the striker was offside.
In the second half, the Netherlands were able to get back on their feet.
They looked like they were going to win when Lineth Beerensteyn fell in the box after Irene Paredes touched him. Paredes was given a yellow card, and Stephanie Frappert, the French judge, pointed to the spot.
Frappert was told by the VAR to look again, and she decided that Paredes didn’t make enough contact. Her yellow card was taken away, which made Beerensteyn very angry.
Caldentey put Spain ahead from the penalty spot with nine minutes left in the first half, after Van der Gragt’s hand was hit by Paralluelo’s cross inside the penalty area.
Van der Gragt, a defender for Inter Milan, made up for her mistake in the first minute of extra time. Victoria Pelova found her on a run, and she shot past Cata Coll and inside the far post.
In extra time, the Netherlands had the best chances. Two times, Beerensteyn came close, but Barcelona forward Paralluelo scored the game-winning goal.
Alexia Putellas, who had hurt her knee and was named world player of the year, came off the Spanish bench during extra time.
But their defense Oihane Hernandez will not be able to play in the semi-final because she got a yellow card for a hit.