Spain beats Netherlands 3-0 to earn Olympics spot and advance to Nations League final vs. France

Jenni Hermoso and Aitana Bonmatí helped Spain beat Netherlands 3-0 in the Women’s Nations League semifinals on Friday, a victory that secured the world champions a spot in the Paris Olympics.

Hermoso opened the scoring with a nice solo effort in the 41st minute before Ballon d’Or holder Bonmatí doubled the lead in the 45th. Left back Ona Batlle added the third in the 77th to complete the dominant performance by the hosts.

Spain will face France in the first Women’s Nations League final in the same La Cartuja Stadium on Wednesday. France beat Germany 2-1 in Friday’s other semifinal.

Classifying for Spain’s first Olympic Games is the first important success for the team since Tomé took over in September following the scandal that erupted when former Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales kissed Hermoso without her consent at the World Cup final.

“(I and my staff) took charge in a difficult moment that nobody wanted and we took a step forward,” Tomé said. “We are proud of the work we have done. This team deserves to play an Olympic Games after all the prior generations who fought for it and came up short.”

Spain started strong in front of its fans in southern Seville.

Striker Salma Paralluelo, who scored the winner to help Spain beat the Dutch in last year’s Women’s World Cup quarterfinals, missed twice from close before she was stopped by goalkeeper Daphne Van Domselaar in a one-on-one opportunity early on.

More shots came from Olga Carmona and Irene Paredes, while the Netherlands could threaten only through Lineth Beerensteyn’s powerful shot saved by Cata Coll.

The Dutch resistance finally faltered when Hermoso used two slick changes of feet to avoid three defenders and beat Van Domselaar for the opener.

Bonmatí added a quick second blow when she raced forward to volley home a cross from Barcelona clubmate Mariona Caldentey.

The Netherlands improved after halftime, but Battle caught the visitors off guard when she finished off an attack that started with her own cross.

Spain coach Monste Tomé gave a debut to 17-year-old Vicky López in the second half.

A moment of silence was held before kickoff in memory of the victims of a deadly fire in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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