To open the knockout stage of the Women’s World Cup, two exciting Round of 16 clashes took place on Saturday. Read on to discover which nations progressed to keep their World Cup hopes alive.
Following a short break after the Group Stage, Spain played Switzerland, and Japan faced Norway to kick off the Round of 16 games.
Spain smash five past Switzerland to secure a place in the Quarter-Finals
A four-goal first half from Spain has helped them earn a resounding 5-1 win over Switzerland at Eden Park.
The Spaniards opened the scoring in the 5th minute when Barcelona midfielder Aitana Bonmati’s shot from inside the penalty area took a huge deflection and hit the back of the net.
Against the run of play, Switzerland equalised in the 11th minute after Spanish defender Laia Codina’s wayward back pass went into her own goal, leaving the sides level at 1-1.
Despite the unfortunate error, Alba Redondo quickly restored Spain’s one-goal advantage with a well-timed header in the 17th minute.
Aitana Bonmati then displayed some classy footwork to score a second and extend her nation’s lead to 3-1 in the 36th minute.
On the cusp of the half-time whistle, Codina redeemed her earlier mistake by pouncing on a loose ball in the 18-yard box to score in the 45th minute, giving Spain a 4-1 advantage.
To complete Spain’s dominant performance, Jenni Hermoso capitalised on a quick counterattack in the 70th minute, curling a shot into the side netting and earning her nation a famous 5-1 victory.
After the triumph over Switzerland, Spain will now play the winner of the Netherlands and South Africa in the Quarter-Finals.
Miyazawa Magic helps Japan maintain their perfect record against Norway
Japan has secured a 3-1 win over Norway at the Wellington Regional Stadium, following another outstanding performance from Women’s World Cup leading scorer Hinata Miyazawa.
The victory ensures Japan remain unbeaten in this year’s tournament and progress to the Women’s World Cup Quarter-Finals for the first time since 2015.
An unfortunate deflection from Norwegian defender Ingrid Syrstad Engen led to an own goal and Japan taking an early 1-0 advantage in the 15th minute.
Norway responded quickly to tie the game 1-1 in the 20th minute when Guro Reiten beat multiple defenders in the air and placed a curling header into the side netting.
Risa Shimizu scored the opening goal of the second half by making a crucial interception and putting a deflected shot past the keeper, giving Japan a 2-1 lead in the 50th minute.
Continuing her exceptional form, Miyazawa got behind the Norwegian defence in the 81st minute before unleashing a powerful strike to give Japan the 3-1 victory.
Japan’s exceptional World Cup run will be put to the ultimate test when they play the winner of Sweden and the USA’s blockbuster clash in the Quarter-Finals.
To receive more updates on the Round of 16 action, read the next edition of our daily report tomorrow!