Spain's Aitana Bonmatí holds the foot of Salma Paralluelo (left) in celebration. Alamy Stock Photo

Barcelona's teen sensation gives Spain frenzied edge for final

Salma Paralluelo proved the catalyst for a stunning victory as they reach first ever Women’s World Cup showpiece.

LET’S START AT the end, when this World Cup semi-final was woken from its slumber in stunning circumstances.

The 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo was the catalyst for a frenzied, chaotic finish that saw Spain triumph.

Never before had they been to this stage of the competition, a semi-final with a Sweden side that have so often reached the point of immortality only to be left wounded by agony.

Once again they will battle it out in the third-place match – a bronze medal they have claimed three times to go alongside the runners-up spot 20 years ago.

Paralluelo wasn’t even born when they lost that final in 2003 and now, two decades on, she might just have played herself into the starting XI for Sunday’s showpiece.

Co-hosts Australia or European champions England await.

Paralluelo, who scored the extra-time winner in the quarter-final victory against the Netherlands, is primed to deliver more magic.

The Barcelona forward was sprung from the bench just before the hour mark and offered an instant indication of her threat in behind with the kind of pace that marked her out as a future Olympic hurdler before turning full attention to football.

Already it’s paying dividends, yet the opening goal in the 81st minute was all about pure football intelligence, instinct and technique.

It began with a throw in high down the Spanish right flank.

Ona Batlle was dallying with the ball in hand because of a lack of options. Then Paralluelo created the space for a neat first-time return.

80:11 was on the clock.

Seventeen seconds later the ball was in the net and Paralluelo was the scorer.

Batlle received Paralluelo’s return and fed the ball back to Aitana Bonmatí, who switched the play left where a sublime outstretched foot from Olga Carmona brought the ball under control.

Paralluelo stayed on the move throughout, following the course of play and timing her run across the front of Magdalena Eriksson when Carmona delivered a pin-point cross.

The Swedish defender made a clever block to deny the teenager but when the breaking ball fell at her feet Paralluelo struck calmly into the corner despite being surrounded by four Swedish players.

A VAR check for a possible offside on Eva Navarro eventually ruled that she was not in the eyeline of goalkeeper Zećira Mušović.

The time read 82.21 and the fun was just getting started.

Sweden levelled in the 88th minute, a throw-in once again instigating the revival.

Jonna Andersson threw down the left side towards the corner flag after Fridolina Rolfö had made the run. Her first touch on the knee set up a hook into the box where a deft header from Lina Hurtig  was met by fellow substitute Rebecka Blomqvist whose composure was rewarded at such a crucial point.

The clock was on 87.24, by 88.33 Spain were down the other end winning a corner when Mariona Caldentey found the energy to take on Nathalie Björn around the outside.

It was taken quickly by Teresa Abelleira, who spotted the advancing Carmona unmarked. The Real Madrid defender had all the time in the world to set herself and pick her spot, curling her effort over Mušović who seemed to get the slightest of fingertips to the ball before it went in off the underside of the crossbar.

The time was exactly 89.00 as the Spanish players celebrated that goal.

Another seven minutes of added time only increased the tension but the drama was over.

A new triumph for Spain to savour while some familiar anguish for Sweden.

Paralluelo now has the biggest stage of all to confirm her growing stature.

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