Spain beat defending champions Netherlands to reach FIFA Women’s World Cup semis

Spain registered a thrilling 2-1 win over the Netherlands in a dramatic FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal match. Substitute Salma Paralluelo was the hero after scoring the winning goal in the 111th minute in extra time. The historic win marked Spain’s first-ever entry into the FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinals and eliminated the defending champions, the Netherlands.

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Paralluelo came onto the field in the 71st minute and was immediately effective. After the Dutch missed opportunities, she received a pass from Jenni Hermosa, skilfully manoeuvred past Aniek Nouwen, and executed a precise left-footed shot from a challenging angle to secure the victory.

Earlier in regular time, Netherlands defender Stefanie van der Gragt went from conceding a penalty for handball to scoring the leveller. She converted an opportunity from Victoria Pelova’s through ball, levelling the scores. As the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal went into extra time, Lineth Beerensteyn came close to scoring for the Dutch.

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Spain dominated the first half, creating multiple chances, including an offside goal by Esther Gonzalez. Despite consistent threats from Alba Redondo and Gonzalez, Spain struggled to find the finishing touch. Aitana Bonmati contributed creatively to Spain’s gameplay, orchestrating 259 passes compared to the Netherlands’ 182.

The Dutch mounted pressure and sought Beerensteyn with long balls. They had their moments, with Beerensteyn setting up Esmee Brugts, who narrowly missed finding Damaris Egurolla in front of goal.

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Then, VAR played a role in the 62nd minute when Irene Paredes was initially shown a yellow card after a tussle with Beerensteyn in the penalty area. However, a video review led to the penalty and card being overturned.

As the match progressed to extra time, Spain’s Paredes and late substitute Alexia Putellas continued their consistent presence in FIFA Women’s World Cup matches since 2015.

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The Dutch team, following their extensive travel during this FIFA Women’s World Cup, experienced a series of matches across New Zealand and Australia before their journey concluded with an unexpected return home following their elimination.

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