Thanks for following along with all the chaos of tonight’s game, but what a game to watch - Spain are on their way to their first World Cup final.
I’ll be back with on-the-ground coverage from Stadium Australia tomorrow for the Matildas semi-final clash with the Lionesses, but until then, sleep well if you can, and let’s do it all again tomorrow!
Lionesses are ready to spoil Matildas’ moment
Last year, when England hosted the Women’s Euros, the whole country was swept up in an unprecedented fervour for women’s football. The Lionesses rode that wave of euphoria all the way to the final at Wembley Stadium – and then they won it.
“The support that we’ve seen throughout the tournament – not only here, but back home as well – I’m sure they’re absolutely loving the moment. It’s a very special thing to experience, a home tournament.
“But for us, it was really important to stay focused as well, because with noise, attentions go elsewhere. And as much as it’s the home nation, that is a pressured environment.”
The challenge for England is to ruin the moment. To spoil the party that all of Australia is lapping up and tip the Matildas out of the World Cup reckoning in Wednesday’s semi-final in front of more than 75,000 people.
Well, that’s one semi-final out of the way, and now we march on to the Australia v England semi-final tomorrow night.
Believe it or not, our AI friend Robothino hit the nail on the head with Spain v Sweden and correctly predicted Spain’s 2-1 victory.
So, do we dare to look what Robothino thinks of tomorrow’s game?
Australia v England Prediction: Australia wins 3-2 (after extra time)
Australia’s home advantage and the lethal duo of Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord might exploit England’s occasional defensive lapses. England, powered by Nikita Parris and Georgia Stanway, could mount a strong challenge. The match could go into extra time due to their resilience, but Australia’s passionate home support might lead to a thrilling victory.
Spain celebrate victory
The 90 seconds of chaos that handed Spain victory
Never have I experienced a final two minutes of a game as chaotic as what we just saw in Auckland.
There were just 90 seconds between Rebecka Blomqvist’s equaliser and Olga Carmona’s match-winning goal.
Ultimately, it was Salma Paralluelo’s goal that broke the game wide open, after the Spanish young gun was subbed on for Alexia Putellas in the 57th minute.
Swedish coach Peter Gerhardsson had fans (and myself) stunned when he took Stina Blackstenius from the pitch, but his decision was vindicated when Blackstenius’ substitute Blomqvist scored.
But Spain were on the attack from the get-go, and their aggressive style of play paid off - they’re now marching to the World Cup final on Sunday against the winner of Australia v England tomorrow night.
Spain defeat Sweden 2-1
Spain has qualified for their first World Cup final after captain Olga Carmona scored an 89th minute goal to put them ahead with just minutes left in the game.
Carmona’s goal came just one minute after Sweden’s Rebecka Blomqvist scored to lock the teams at 1-1 in the dying minutes of the game.
But Carmona’s goal sealed the deal for the Spaniards who collapsed in a heap on the pitch when referee Edina Alves blew the full-time whistle.
Full-time: Spain 2, Sweden 1
Olga Carmona scores to retake lead for Spain
In what could be a fairytale finish for Spain, Olga Carmona has scored to put her team ahead with just one minute to go.
The kick, which originally came from a corner, has put Spain ahead with just the seven minutes of injury time left to play.
Spain 2, Sweden 1 after 89 minutes
Rebecka Blomqvist equalises with two minutes to go
With two and a half minutes left of regulation time, Sweden’s substitute Rebecka Blomqvist has scored to put the Swedes back in with a chance at another World Cup final.
It’s Blomqvist’s third goal this World Cup and vindicates Peter Gerhardsson’s substitution of Stina Blackstenius.
Spain 1, Sweden 1 after 88 minutes
Salma Paralluelo scores to put Spain ahead
Spanish superstar Salma Paralluelo has cracked open the Swedish defence and scored for Spain in the final 10 minutes of regulation time.
Teammate Eva Navarro was offside, but didn’t get a touch to the ball, and after a VAR check to make sure she didn’t obstruct the view of Swedish keeper Zecira Musovic, it is ruled that the goal stands.
Spain 1, Sweden 0 after 81 minutes
Sweden makes first changes for final 15 minutes
And now it’s time for a double substitution for Sweden.
Coach Peter Gerhardsson sends Rebecka Blomqvist and Olivia Schough on the field and Johanna Kaneryd and Stina Blackstenius get to rest.