Salma Paralluelo is already superstar! Winners & losers as Spain teenager sparks Women's World Cup semi-final into life and condemns Sweden to more tournament heartache

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The 19-year-old came off the bench to score for the second game in a row as Jorge Vilda's crisis-hit side reached their first ever women's final

Spain went into their Women's World Cup semi-final with Sweden boasting two-time Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas and the favourite for the 2023 prize, Aitana Bonmati, in their line up. However, it was yet again their 19-year-old wonderkid who stole the show and guided them to their first final.

Salma Paralluelo has been causing excitement among women's football fans for a couple of years ever since breaking out at Villarreal, and though she is not yet a regular in the Barcelona line up, she is becoming a superstar for the national team during this tournament.

Having scored the extra-time winner against the Netherlands in Friday's quarter-final, she stepped off the bench in Auckland on Tuesday to inspire Jorge Vilda's side to a 2-1 victory and carry a squad that is missing 12 protesting players to the cusp of a first global title.

Paralluelo wasn't the match-winner this time, however. Though she opened the scoring with nine minutes to go, Rebecka Blomqvist's 88th-minute equaliser looked to be sending the game to extra-time, only for Spain captain Olga Carmona to curl in a long-range strike just 60 seconds later.

Despite that, Paralluelo's name is now on everyone's lips heading into the final days of this tournament, and given her current form, don't back against her having a say against either Australia or England on Sunday.

GOAL breaks down the winners & losers from Eden Park...

  1. WINNER: Salma Paralluelo
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    WINNER: Salma Paralluelo

    She may only be 19, but Paralluelo is developing into a national hero in Spain after her heroics in firing this team to their first Women's World Cup final.

    Despite having scored the stunning extra-time winner against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals, the Barcelona forward was named among the substitutes here. When she got her chance, though, she certainly took her opportunity.

    Having come on just before the hour mark, Paralluelo immediately added an extra dimension to Spain's attack with her pace and directness, and it was her who opened the scoring on the 81st minute as she latched onto a loose ball and fired into the bottom corner.

    Whether this impact sub role might actually get the best out of the teenager rather than her starting is certainly an argument that will dominate the build-up to the final, but either way, it's clear that Paralluelo has arrived at the highest level of the game.

  2. LOSER: Alexia Putellas
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    LOSER: Alexia Putellas

    There was much excitement ahead of the tournament regarding Putellas' return to the international scene around 12 months after the two-time Ballon d'Or winner had suffered a devastating knee injury on the eve of the European Championship, but the Barcelona star has struggled during this World Cup.

    Handed just her third start of the tournament here having been a substitute in Spain's two previous knockout games, Putellas again struggled to have much of an impact, and was substituted after just 57 minutes.

    Given her long injury lay-off and the way her minutes are being managed, it perhaps shouldn't be surprising that Putellas has not been at her best in New Zealand, but she will still be disappointed at the lack of impact she's had. Now she faces a fight to start the final, with her replacement Paralluelo having scored in the last two games.

  3. WINNER: Olga Carmona
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    WINNER: Olga Carmona

    During the first half, it seemed that Spain captain Carmona was the only player in red capable of shooting. Though they dominated possession and territory, Vilda's side struggled to create opportunities, with Carmona's long-range efforts their only real attempts.

    However, what Sweden didn't realise was that the Real Madrid full-back was just getting her eye in, as when Carmona collected a pass from a corner around 25 yards out in the penultimate minute of the 90, she was able to curl in a superb strike that bounced in off the underside of the crossbar.

    For a player with only one international goal to their name before that, it was a superb strike, and the look of disbelief on Carmona's face told the whole story. She is now just one win away from lifting the biggest trophy of them all.

  4. LOSER: Zecira Musovic
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    LOSER: Zecira Musovic

    A week-and-a-half ago, Zecira Musovic was the toast of Swedish football. The goalkeeper's heroics had kept the United States at bay for 120 minutes, setting up the dramatic penalty shootout which the Scandinavian side would go on to win.

    And while that last-16 performance is what Musovic's World Cup will mostly be remembered for, there will be questions asked of whether she could have done better with Spain's winning goal here. Carmona struck her effort well, but it floated over Musovic, who could only get a fingertip on the ball.

    Had the shot been in the corner, then they she likely would have had no chance, but given she barely had to move across her line to deal with it, Musovic will wonder whether she could have done more to avoid that late heartbreak.

  5. WINNER: Jorge Vilda
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    WINNER: Jorge Vilda

    Whatever you may think of him as a coach, there is no doubting that Vilda had quite the job on his hands heading into this World Cup. Without 12 of his players due to an ongoing protest against the Spanish federation, Vilda might have been forgiven if his side had under-perfomed Down Under.

    Instead, he has led them to a first Women's World Cup final while playing some of the best football of any side in the tournament. His is not a team without faults, but the way that they have bounced back from the demoralising 4-0 defeat to Japan in the group stages has to be massively admired.

    Their ability to come up with late goals should also be applauded having netted dramatic winners in each of the last two rounds, and few would begrudge them the trophy if they are now victorious in Sunday's final.

  6. LOSER: Caroline Seger
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    LOSER: Caroline Seger

    Caroline Seger is a genuine legend of the women's game, with over 230 international caps and a Champions League win under her belt. But after defeat here, she will bow out following yet another heartbreaking moment in a major tournament.

    Seger - who did not make it off the bench here - has already been part of two Sweden sides that have finished third at World Cups, and her final appearance for her country will now likely come in Saturday's play-off against the loser of the Australia-England semi-final.

    She also has two Olympic silver medals on her resume, with the 38-year-old's career likely to be partly-defined by not getting over the final hurdle on the biggest of stages. That should take nothing away from her ability or overall legacy, but that she will bow out without a major international honour is a real shame.