‘Rest in peace dad’: Olga Carmona says ‘I know you are proud of me’ in heartbreaking tribute to her father after staff kept his death a secret from her before England final.
Spain’s World Cup final hero Olga Carmona tweeted a heartbreaking tribute to her father on Sunday night after she learned of his death in the aftermath of their win over England.
Carmona’s father is understood to have died on Friday. However, news was kept from the 23-year-old defender so as not to affect her frame of mind going into the game against the Lionesses.
The Spanish Football Federation tweeted after the game: ‘We deeply regret to announce the death of Olga Carmona’s father. The footballer learnt the sad news after the World Cup final. We love you, Olga, you are part of Spanish football history.’
But in a post later on Sunday night the 23-year-old, who scored the only goal of the game past England’s Mary Earps, said her father had ‘given me the strength to achieve something unique’.
She wrote: ‘And without knowing it, I had my star before the game started”.
‘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.’
Carmona had celebrated her first half goal with a message on her shirt for a friend whose mother had just died.
It was reminiscent of men’s player Andres Iniesta’s gesture to his late friend Dani Jarque when he got Spain’s winning goal in the men’s World Cup final in 2010.
Carmona, a left back, was named player of the match in Sunday’s final and also scored a late winner in Spain’s semi-final win over Sweden.
She celebrated her team’s success on the pitch with her team-mates, dancing around the Sydney Stadium.
In an interview, she said: ‘We felt this team had something special’.
Real Madrid also released a statement Sunday night about her father’s death and offering condolences to the player and her family.
Carmona’s Spain teammate Irene Paredes lost her father a few days before Spain began their preparations for the World Cup. The defender dedicated the title to him on Sunday.
Before the news of the death of Carmona’s father, the federation said that title celebrations were set to take place after the squad’s arrival in Madrid on Monday night.
It wasn’t clear if the celebrations would go ahead as scheduled or if Carmona would participate in any way.
Spain celebrated their win in style out on the pitch with Queen Letizia even making her way to the centre of the team photograph and lifting the trophy.
She was then presented with a Spain shirt with a number 12 on the back and had to politely decline as the entire squad chanted for her to put it on.
Protocol was forgotten as Spain became only the second nation, after Germany, to have won both men’s and women’s World Cups.
‘We dedicate it to all our families and to the people back in Spain,’ said Jennifer Hermoso who missed a penalty, ‘we have played football the way we wanted to and we have won a world championship.’
Back in Spain they had been queuing two hours before kick-off outside of the 6,000 capacity WiZink Center in Madrid, one of around 30 fan sites set up around the country to show the final.
On 90 minutes there was a communal gulp as the fourth official showed that 13 minutes were to be added on, but once the final whistle had been blown the euphoria was released.
‘We got revenge in the most important of games,’ said Diario AS remembering how England had knocked Spain out of the Euros in the quarter-finals a year ago.
‘It’s nice that we are breaking down barriers and that we are being talked about,’ said midfielder Teresa Abelleira. The attention is unlikely to diminish any time soon.
Spain are due to arrive back home to Madrid on Monday night where they will go straight into a trophy parade in the Spanish capital.