Photo Credit: Joe Allison – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Japan have made it two wins from two in Group C at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ as they defeated Costa Rica 2-0 in Dunedin.

Two first-half goals were enough to give the Nadeshiko all three points and ultimately eliminate Costa Rica as a result of Spain’s victory over Zambia later in the evening in Auckland.

Hikaru Naomoto got the breakthrough after 25 minutes, taking advantage of a slip by Maria Paula Coto, before steadying herself and slamming the ball hard and low across goalkeeper Daniela Solera and into the far corner.

The second came only two minutes later – Aoba Fujino pouncing on a loose ball inside the area and, with the angle against her, rifling her shot past Solera at the near post.

Japan are now guaranteed passage to the Round of 16 following Spain’s victory over Zambia, with the fate of top spot in the group to be decided on Monday when the two meet in Wellington.

Japan: 2 (Hikaru NAOMOTO 25′, Aoba FUJINO 27′)
Zambia: 0

HT: 2-0

Spain confirmed their place in the Round of 16 at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ with a dominant victory over Zambia at a chilly Eden Park in the evening’s second Group C match.

Teresa Abelleira gave Spain the lead after just 9 minutes with a fantastic shot, arrowed into the top corner from outside the area. A second arrived minutes later when Jennifer Hermoso had the easy task of heading in after Alexia Putellas’ cross has drifted over the head of Zambia ‘keeper Eunice Sakala.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – JULY 26: Teresa Abelleira (R) of Spain celebrates with teammate Mariona Caldentey (L) after scoring her team’s first goal during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group C match between Spain and Zambia at Eden Park on July 26, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Zambia’s inability to hold onto possession meant that chances were few and far between but forward Barbra Banda looked dangerous every time she was found in space – troubling the Spanish backline with her pace and strength.

The result was put beyond doubt with just over twenty minutes to go when substitute Alba Redondo timed her run perfectly onto a through ball from fellow sub Eva Navarro before rounding Sakala and rolling the ball into an unguarded net.

A fourth followed moments later when Hermoso smashed home her second of the evening after an initial attempt from Irene Guerrero rebounded back off the post. Redondo also clinched a brace, controlling an excellent through ball on the angle from Navarro before checking onto her right and firing low past Sakala in net.

Spain now join Japan in the Round of 16, with Zambia and Costa Rica becoming the first nations to be eliminated at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™.

Spain: 5 (Teresa ABELLEIRA 9′, Jennifer HERMOSO ’13, 70′, Alba REDONDO 69′, 85′)
Zambia: 0


A 2-1 victory for Canada has given their campaign a boost, whilst ensuring that Republic of Ireland can no longer qualify for the Round of 16.

Ireland took the lead – their first ever goal in a FIFA Women’s World Cup – when Katie McCabe’s corner kick flew directly into the far corner after only 4 minutes.

The crucial equaliser came with seconds of the first-half remaining – Megan Connolly directing a cross into her own net and past a despairing Courtney Brosnan.

Canada established themselves as the dominant side in the second half and their reward came in the 53rd minute, when Adriana Leon steered her effort past Brosnan to give Canada their first lead of the World Cup.

Ireland bow out despite some outstanding performances but Canada now have a great opportunity to secure their place in the knockout stages.

Canada: 2 (Own Goal 45+5′, Adriana LEON 53′)
Republic of Ireland: 1 (Katie MCCABE 4′)

HT: 1-1