SYDNEY - What should have been a day of celebration quickly turned into one of mourning on Sunday at the FIFA Women's World Cup. Olga Carmona, the star left-back for the Spanish national team, scored the winning goal against England, securing Spain's first-ever World Cup title. However, moments after the match, Carmona received devastating news - her father had passed away.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced the heartbreaking news on Sunday, stating that Carmona "learned the sad news after the World Cup final." The federation expressed their condolences to Carmona and her family, describing her as the "history of Spanish football" and sending their "most sincere hugs" in this moment of deep pain.
Carmona, 23, who plays for Real Madrid, scored the game's only goal in the first half, making history for the Spanish women's team. She took to social media to share her emotions, posting a photo of her kissing the World Cup gold medal and expressing gratitude towards her late father. "And without knowing it, I had my Star before the game started," Carmona wrote. "I know that you have given me the strength to achieve something unique...I know that you have been watching me tonight and that you are proud of me. Rest in peace, dad."
The details surrounding Carmona's father's death have not been revealed, but the RFEF confirmed that it occurred while her mother and other family members were in Australia to support her during the final match.
Carmona's victory-winning goal was not the only historic moment for Spain in the final. The RFEF reported that the match set an all-time audience record for women's soccer in the country, with nearly 8.9 million unique viewers. "The match between Spain and England became the most-watched women's football game in the history of our country," the federation declared, celebrating another success for Spanish women's sports.
Carmona's goal, however, carried a personal significance beyond the World Cup. In the 29th minute of the final, she revealed the word “Merchi” on her undershirt, paying tribute to a friend's mother who had recently passed away. Little did she know that she would soon be mourning her own father's death.
The news of Carmona's father's passing deeply saddened her club, Real Madrid, who released a statement expressing their condolences and heartfelt sympathy. They described Carmona's father as "the father of our player Olga Carmona" and extended their sympathies to her and her family.
According to an RFEF spokesperson, Carmona's father had been battling a lengthy illness and passed away on Friday, two days before the World Cup final. Carmona's mother and brothers had traveled to New Zealand during the group stage of the World Cup but rushed home when they realized their father's condition was worsening.
Carmona, who played a crucial role in Spain's journey to the final, also scored the game-winner in the semifinal against Sweden. Despite the personal grief she now carries, Carmona's performance throughout the tournament has solidified her as a rising star in women's football.
As the football community mourns with Carmona, her resilience and determination continue to inspire. She has shown immense strength both on and off the field, exemplifying the true spirit of a champion.