WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Japan continued its run through the FIFA Women’s World Cup, advancing to the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Norway in Wellington.
Spain made a statement of intent as they stormed into the quarter-finals by brushing aside Switzerland in Auckland.
Japan was 3-0 in group play, outscoring the opponents 11-0. Against Norway, Hinata Miyazawa capped the scoring in the 81st minute with her fifth goal of the tournament, leading all scorers and tying the goals record for a player from Japan in a World Cup.
Ingrid Syrstad Engen’s own goal in the 15th minute gave Japan a 1-0 lead, but a Guro Reiten header in the 20th minute sent the match to a 1-1 tie at half-time.
For Japan, Risa Shimizu’s goal in the 50th minute proved to be the game winner.
With 14 goals, Japan already has outscored the 2011 team that won the World Cup.
Norway didn’t have much of a chance to fight back as Japan possessed the ball for 65 per cent of the match.
“We knew Norway was going to play to their strength but all of our players really worked hard,” Japan coach Futoshi Ikeda said according to Reuters.
“We made several adjustments in the second half and it was great that they led to the goals and the win.”
Japan will play the winner of the match between Sweden and the United States in the quarter-finals.
Japan traded its regular blue uniform for pastel colors Saturday, pink and purple. The softer color scheme did nothing to dull its attacking style; it pressed forward from the start and had its first corner after two minutes.
“We knew Norway were going to play to their strength but all of our players really worked hard,” Japan coach Futoshi Ikeda said. “We made several adjustments in the second half and it was great that they led to the goals and the win.
“Whether we are No 1, we will find out if we continue winning. We will find out at the end.”
While it was ineffective, it was an early declaration of intent. With long balls or sharp, quick passing, Japan continually pressed forward and Norway, which conceded only one goal in group play, often seemed rattled at the back.
When the defense finally yielded, it was in unusual circumstances. In the 15th minute Miyazawa curled the ball in from depth on the left and Engen extended her leg to parry the ball. She managed only to deflect it wide of Aurora Mikalsen in goal for the eighth own goal of the tournament.
Japan seemed well on top but in the 21st minute, and from the first time in the match Norway had threatened, Vilda Boe Rise got away on the right, took the ball to the byline and crossed to the middle where Guro Reiten stood tall and headed wide of the diving Ayaka Yamashita into the left corner.
Spain routs Switzerland 5-1
Aitana Bonmati scored twice as Spain routed Switzerland 5-1 to advance to the quarter-finals of the Women´s World Cup for the first time.
Spain responded emphatically to its 4-0 loss against Japan in its group-stage finale in a blowout against the Swiss in Auckland.
Alba Redondo, Laia Codina and Jennifer Hermoso also scored in the win at Eden Park. Codina showed plenty of relief to score from close range after conceding an own goal in the first half.
Spain coach Jorge Vilda made some big calls after his team was routed by Japan. Two-time Ballon d´Or winner Alexia Putellas was left on the bench and goalkeeper Cata Coll was picked for her full international debut.
They were among five changes to his starting lineup, which paid off as his team produced a dominant performance.
Switzerland was one of only three teams that didn’t concede a goal in the group stages, but was 4-1 down by halftime against Spain, which wore blue jerseys instead of its familiar color of red.
Not that it made any difference as one of the tournament favorites won in style.
Bonmati scored her first in the fifth minute after Switzerland goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann had pushed Alba Redondo’s effort against the post.
The Swiss couldn’t clear the ball and Bonmati collected it, turned sharply in the box and fired low into the corner.
Switzerland was gifted an equalizer in the 11th through Codina’s own goal. The defender picked up the ball just inside her own half, but without looking, turned and swept an overhit backpass beyond Coll, who was advanced out of her goal.
Spain was back in front in the 17th as Redondo headed a bouncing ball low into the corner. It was her third goal of the tournament.
Spain continued to look for more goals and Bonmati scored her second in the 36th when showing quick footwork to make space in the box before placing a shot into the corner.
It was 4-1 in the 45th as Codina made amends for her earlier error by bundling the ball over the line from a corner.
Meriame Terchoun, one of three half time substitutes for Switzerland, forced a save from Coll from close range after the break. It was her team’s only effort on target all match.
Switzerland all-time leading scorer Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic had just one shot on goal in group play and didn´t fire a shot against Spain.
Hermoso swept in a fifth for Spain in the 70th to score her third of the tournament.