Spain's World Cup hero Olga Carmona pays tribute to father who passed away before final

Defender starred in the semi-final and final as La Roja lifted the trophy for the first time

Spain's Olga Carmona after winning the Women's World Cup in Sydney. EPA
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Spain's Women's World Cup hero Olga Carmona saw her title celebrations come to a painful end as she learnt of her father's death following the 1-0 final victory over England.

Carmona paid tribute to her father on Monday for giving her the strength "to achieve something unique".

The 23-year-old defender scored the only goal of the final in Sydney on Sunday to help La Roja win the World Cup for the first time in their history.

"And without knowing it, I had my Star before the game started," she posted on X, formerly Twitter.

"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 Spanish federation (RFEF) said Carmona "learnt the sad news after the World Cup final".

"We send our most sincere embraces to Olga and her family in a moment of deep pain. We love you, Olga, you are in the history of Spanish football," the federation added.

An RFEF spokesperson told Reuters that Carmona's father had been ill for a long time and had passed away on Friday.

According to Spanish media outlet Relevo, Carmona's family and friends decided not to tell her so that she could focus on the final.

Carmona's mother and brothers travelled to New Zealand during the World Cup's group stage, but then rushed back to Spain. They arrived in Australia on Saturday to support the Real Madrid fullback in the title match.

Carmona scored with a left-footed strike in the 29th minute to give Spain the title. She had also scored a late winner in La Roja’s 2-1 win over Sweden in the semi-finals to become the first player since American Carli Lloyd in 2015 to score in a World Cup semi-final and final.

The 23-year-old was named the final’s most valuable player.

Updated: August 21, 2023, 4:50 AM