Spain beat Dutch to reach first World Cup semi

Estimated read time 7 min read


Teenage winger Salma Paralluelo came off the bench to score a 111th-minute winner as Spain beat the Netherlands to reach the Women’s World Cup semi-finals for the first time.

Mariona Caldentey had appeared to give Spain the win in normal time when she slammed home an 80th-minute penalty via the post after Stefanie van der Gragt handled in the box.

Van der Gragt went from villain to hero by smashing home a stoppage-time equaliser – but Paralluelo found space in the area in extra time to put Spain’s women into their first major semi-final for 26 years.

The Netherlands, runners-up in 2019 where they were beaten by the USA in the final, were outplayed for long periods although they should have taken the lead seconds before the winner, when Lineth Beerensteyn fired over from yards out.

Salma Paralluelo
Salma Paralluelo, who was dropped from the starting XI for this game, ultimately scored the winner

Paralluelo, 19, then received the ball from Jenni Hermoso, kept her calm in the box and struck perfectly in off the left post to become Spain’s youngest scorer at a Women’s World Cup – and their newest star.

“It means everything for me, it was a unique moment, great euphoria… I’m extremely happy,” Paralluelo said.

“We went to extra time, but the team kept on believing,” said coach Jorge Vilda. “They played on an extraordinary level, all the players, and it was a match with a lot of emotional decisions, and the goal from Salma, it was sheer joy.”

Spain will face Sweden in the semi-finals on Tuesday after the Swedish overcame Japan 2-1 in Auckland.

Spain dominate – as does VAR

Before Paralluelo grabbed the headlines, this seemed set to be a game defined by the video assistant referee (VAR).

Spain appeared to have taken the lead on 37 minutes when Esther Gonzalez slammed in from close range after Alba Redondo miscued her volley into the striker’s path, but it was disallowed for offside on review.

The Spanish should have been out of sight by that point. Redondo hit the post twice in a matter of seconds – first seeing her header brilliantly tipped on to the woodwork by Daphne van Domselaar, before contriving to turn the rebound off the same upright.

The Netherlands were left aggrieved in the second half when referee Stephanie Frappart initially gave a penalty for Irene Paredes barging Beerensteyn to the ground, only to overturn her decision.

VAR then stepped in to give Spain a penalty for Van der Gragt’s handball.

“VAR did not do its work properly, but Spain deserved to win,” said Dutch manager Andries Jonker.

It appeared to be reward for Spain’s dominance – but instead that arrived through substitute Paralluelo, the latest teenage star to make a splash at this World Cup.

Van der Gragt’s dramatic finale

Stefanie van der Gragt
Stefanie van der Gragt scored her second goal of the tournament to send the game to extra time

Van der Gragt, who is retiring from professional football after this tournament, could not have imagined a more dramatic way to bow out.

“It’s hard now,” said Van der Gragt. “We had the chance in extra time and we didn’t score, they had one chance and they scored. That’s football.”

Earning her 106th cap in this match, she looked to be heading for a nightmare end to her career when she inexplicably handled Paralluelo’s cross in the area, allowing Caldentey to score.

But the 30-year-old refused to let that be her final defining moment on a football pitch. As the second half ticked into 12 minutes of injury time, the centre-back found herself played clean through on the Spanish goal.

Van der Gragt steadied herself and fired perfectly across Cata Coll and into the net.

It was a temporary let-off for a Dutch side who were outplayed through the majority of this match. They missed Danielle van de Donk – suspended for this game – with one-time Spain international Damaris Egurrola unable to bring the same combativeness to midfield.

Jill Roord, whose four goals already are the most ever by a Dutch woman at a World Cup, was anonymous before being substituted on the hour. Her side were again reliant on keeper Van Domselaar – Aston Villa look to have got a real bargain with their newly signed goalkeeper.

But Van Domselaar could do nothing about the winner, which earned Spain a first major semi-final since the 1997 European Championships – six years before Paralluelo was born.

It means the Netherlands’ first major tournament under manager Jonker, who took over after their quarter-final exit from Euro 2022, ends in failure.

“The disappointment is major, if we had won I am convinced we would have made it through the semi,” said Jonker.

“I am very proud of this team, in one year we have got back in there [among the world’s best teams]. Tough to swallow but we are back on the map.”

Player of the match

van DomselaarDaphne van Domselaar


  1. Squad number18Player nameParalluelo

  2. Squad number10Player nameHermoso

  3. Squad number8Player nameMariona Caldentey

  4. Squad number4Player nameParedes

  5. Squad number2Player nameBatlle

  6. Squad number9Player nameGonzález

  7. Squad number19Player nameCarmona

  8. Squad number6Player nameBonmatí

  9. Squad number17Player nameRedondo

  10. Squad number14Player nameCodina

  11. Squad number23Player nameCata Coll

  12. Squad number12Player nameHernández

  13. Squad number5Player nameAndrés

  14. Squad number3Player nameAbelleira

  15. Squad number11Player namePutellas

  16. Squad number7Player nameGuerrero

  17. Squad number15Player nameNavarro


  1. Squad number1Player namevan Domselaar

  2. Squad number3Player namevan der Gragt

  3. Squad number17Player namePelova

  4. Squad number4Player nameNouwen

  5. Squad number2Player nameWilms

  6. Squad number14Player nameGroenen

  7. Squad number20Player nameJanssen

  8. Squad number8Player nameSpitse

  9. Squad number18Player nameCasparij

  10. Squad number11Player nameMartens

  11. Squad number21Player nameEgurrola

  12. Squad number15Player nameDijkstra

  13. Squad number22Player nameBrugts

  14. Squad number9Player nameSnoeijs

  15. Squad number6Player nameRoord

  16. Squad number7Player nameBeerensteyn



Formation 4-3-3

  • 23Coll Lluch
  • 12HernándezBooked at 35minsSubstituted forCarmonaat 90′minutes
  • 4Paredes
  • 14CodinaSubstituted forAndrésat 77′minutes
  • 2Batlle
  • 6BonmatíSubstituted forGuerreroat 87′minutes
  • 3Abelleira
  • 10Hermoso
  • 17RedondoSubstituted forParallueloat 71′minutes
  • 9GonzálezSubstituted forNavarroat 100′minutes
  • 8Caldentey OliverSubstituted forPutellasat 100′minutes


  • 1Rodríguez Rivero
  • 5Andrés
  • 7Guerrero
  • 11Putellas
  • 13Salón
  • 15Navarro
  • 16Pérez
  • 18Paralluelo
  • 19Carmona
  • 20Gálvez
  • 21Zornoza
  • 22del Castillo


Formation 3-1-4-2

  • 1van Domselaar
  • 8SpitseSubstituted forSnoeijsat 85′minutes
  • 3van der GragtSubstituted forCasparijat 105′minutes
  • 20Janssen
  • 14Groenen
  • 17Pelova
  • 6RoordSubstituted forWilmsat 61′minutes
  • 21EgurrolaBooked at 61minsSubstituted forDijkstraat 96′minutes
  • 22BrugtsSubstituted forNouwenat 89′minutes
  • 7Beerensteyn
  • 11Martens


  • 2Wilms
  • 4Nouwen
  • 9Snoeijs
  • 12Baijings
  • 13Jansen
  • 15Dijkstra
  • 16Kop
  • 18Casparij
  • 19Kaptein
  • 23Weimar

Stéphanie Frappart


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