In front of a raucous crowd of 43,217 on Tuesday at Eden Park, Carmona’s long-range effort bounced off the crossbar and into the net two minutes after Rebecka Blomqvist had tied the game for Sweden.
Salma Paralluelo, the hero of Spain’s quarterfinal victory against the Netherlands, gave Spain the lead with the game’s first goal in the 81st minute, igniting what had been a plodding, cagey contest.
La Roja will have the opportunity to win the championship on Sunday when they take on either Australia or England, less than a year after a player mutiny split the team apart.
The losers of the second semifinal on Wednesday will face Sweden in the match for third place on Saturday.
Sweden thus bowed out after yet another defeat at the penultimate hurdle, having made the semifinals in France four years ago and also the last four at last year’s European Championship.
Tuesday’s match saw Swedish defensive tenacity versus Iberian attacking flair, with Spain starting the game with an advantage in possession but little to show for it.
In the 14th minute, full-back Carmona missed the target from a low, long distance, while midfield powerhouse Aitana Bonmati blasted an errant shot by the same right post from the edge of the box.
However, Sweden’s defence remained steadfast throughout, and it finished the half-ascendant with its customary barrage of set-piece pressure.
A few minutes before the interval, Nathalie Bjorn chested the ball down and crossed to an unmarked Fridolina Rolfo in the box, giving Spain a scare. However, custodian Cata Coll successfully blocked the Sweden winger’s attempt.
As Sweden continued to exert pressure, Jorge Vilda went to his bench early and substituted Paralluelo with Alexia Putellas, who had scored the game-winning goal against the Netherlands in the quarterfinal. When she kept the ball alive with a cut-back pass to Alba Redondo in the area in the 70th minute, Paralluelo nearly assisted in breaking the scoreless tie.
Redondo, who was slouched on the ground, tried to shoot but was only successful in hitting the side netting.
After a weak clearing, Paralluelo pounced again and slammed the ball into the right corner to send Spanish fans into a frenzy eleven minutes later.
As the clock ticked down on regulation time, it seemed all over for Sweden, but Lina Hurtig headed down to an unguarded Blomqvist, who slammed the ball in.
But Carmona broke the deadlock in a late twist, her fierce strike tipped onto the underside of the bar by keeper Zecira Musovic before bouncing down over the line, ensuring Spain create more history at their breakout World Cup.