Spain almost slipped away late on, but they are heading into the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in history.
Spain, thanks to a small goal from Selma Baralelo in the 111th minute of a tight fight, beat the Netherlands 2-1 in their quarter-final match at Wellington Regional Stadium in New Zealand on Friday afternoon (Thursday evening in the US). ).
Spain is now the first team to reach the semi-finals of the tournament. Japan or Sweden will wait next week.
Spain looked in control for most of the match, but a late equalizer in regulation sparked an intense fight late on in Wellington. However, it was Baraloilo who entered the game in the 71st minute for Alba Redondo, who finally broke the deadlock and propelled Spain to victory.
After two successive defeats from Dutch striker Lenneth Berenstein on the other end of the field, Baraloilo secured a pass down the left side of the field and deftly drilled a left-footed shot from the far post and into the first position for the 19-year-old. World Cup goal.
That gave Spain a 2-1 lead, and eventually rallied the Red to win.
Spain had many chances early on, but were unable to score a goal. She missed several moments in the first half, and let another slip away in the first few seconds of the second half as well. Finally, though, he got a break in the 81st minute.
Stephanie van der Graagt of the Netherlands was called up for a very clear handball, which, after review, was determined to be barely inside the penalty area in Spain’s attack. This resulted in a penalty kick for Spain.
Mariona Caldente then kicked in off the left post eventually giving Spain a 1-0 lead.
This lead did not hold, and van der Graagt made a full recovery.
In the first minute of injury time, she broke away while barely in place and scored deep to tie the game back up. It was her second of the tournament, and sparked a huge celebration for the Dutch.
The goal gave new life to the Netherlands, which went into extra time. While Berenstein had two great appearances in the second extra time period, Spain and Paralolo rallied to secure the victory and keep the World Cup going.
Spain reached the quarter-finals after a dominant 5-1 win over Switzerland last week. Aitana Bonmati scored twice in the first half in that match, sending them to the quarter-finals for the first time in the team’s history.
The Netherlands qualified for the quarter-finals after beating South Africa 2-0 in their round of 16 match. Jill Roard and Berenstein – who had a lot to say about the US women’s national team’s early exit from the World Cup on Thursday – each scored for the Netherlands in the win.
Spain will now qualify for the semi-finals, where they will face either Japan or Sweden next week. Japan has only allowed one goal so far in the World Cup, beating Norway 3-1 to advance to the quarter-finals. Sweden beat the United States on penalties on Sunday.