FIFA Women’s World Cup PIX: Japan, Spain march into quarters

Images of the Women’s World Cup matches held on Saturday.

Hinata Miyazawa scored her fifth goal of the tournament as Japan beat Norway 3-1 in a clash of former champions on Saturday to reach the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup for the fourth time.

Japan have been on a mission to bury the memory of their disappointing exit at the last-16 stage in 2019 and move on to play the winner of Sunday’s clash between holders the United States and Sweden.

Although they conceded their first goal of the tournament to Guro Reiten’s header, an own goal from Norway’s Ingrid Engen as well as second-half strikes from Risa Shimizu and Miyazawa got them across the line in front of a crowd of 33,042.

Miyazawa’s 81st-minute goal moved her out of a tie with Germany captain Alexandra Popp as the tournament’s leading goalscorer as well as matching Homare Sawa’s Japanese record for a World Cup set in 2011 when the Nadeshiko clinched the title.

“I’m very happy, I didn’t think we would be able to come so far,” Miyazawa told reporters.

“All of the team is working so hard. Now that we are here, I want to score more goals. Whoever we play next, we need to prepare well and make sure we beat them.”

Norway, world champions in 1995, depart the World Cup before the quarter-finals for only the third time in nine campaigns.

Both teams came into the match on the back of big wins, Japan from the 4-0 dismantling of Spain and Norway after the 6-0 thrashing of the Philippines that resurrected their troubled campaign.

Bonmati scores brilliant brace to lead Spain into quarter-finals

Aitana Bonmati netted two well-crafted goals as Spain thrashed Switzerland 5-1 at the Women’s World Cup on Saturday to clinch a quarter-final berth for the first time in their history.

Switzerland kept three clean sheets to top Group A, but it took a mere five minutes for midfielder Bonmati to breach their defence for the first goal for La Roja.

“A 5-1 (victory) in the round of 16 is not easy,” Bonmati said in a post-match interview. “I have a lot of confidence in this team and now we are going for the quarter-finals.”

Additional goals from Bonmati, Alba Redondo, Laia Codina and Jenny Hermoso completed the rout to the delight of the crowd of 43,217 – a record for a soccer game in New Zealand, women or men.

“We have shown what we can do and without having the best version,” coach Jorge Vilda said. “So, in the end we have arrived, we have pressed well, we have made history, we have shown that we are a team of 23 players. Today, yes, they are not words, they are deeds and we are happy, to be honest.”

Codina’s 45th-minute effort was a moment of redemption for the defender, who had earlier scored a calamitous own goal with a pass back from 40 yards that sailed past shocked keeper Cata Coll.

The Spaniards will now play the winner of Sunday’s round of 16 game between the Netherlands and South Africa.

The 20th-ranked Swiss matched their best World Cup finish. They also bowed out in the round of 16 in their only other World Cup appearance in 2015.

“It was a heavy defeat for us and a well-deserved win for our opponents,” said Swiss coach Inka Grings. “We tried to keep the Spanish away from our goal but it is hard when they have so much possession.”

Spain finished second in Group C, beating Costa Rica and Zambia by a combined 8-0 before being run ragged in a surprise 4-0 loss to Japan on Monday.

“We needed to recover sensations, me personally too after the tough defeat the other day,” Bonmati said. “I think we came out to the game very well, being ourselves, taking off all the pressure and all the things we had in our heads from the past and we came here to win and that’s how it was.”

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