Photo Credit: Jan Kruger – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Spain scored four times in the first-half as they saw off a poor Switzerland side at Eden Park in Auckland to progress to the quarter-finals at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™.

It took only to the 5th minute for the Group C runners-up to assert their dominance, when Aitana Bonmati fired home despite an excellent save in the lead up by Gaelle Thalmann.

Switzerland were then gifted a way back into the match six minutes later when Laia Codina blindly hit a pass back to her goalkeeper Cata Coll, only to overhit and send the ball flying into the net.

It was a minor blip however, as Spain proceeded to put three more past a despairing Thalmann before half-time; first from Alba Redondo, then a second from Bonmati and finally from Codina – making amends for her earlier transgression.

The second-half was played at a lower level of intensity, with the result already beyond doubt. Jennifer Hermoso finding the net for the only goal of the second 45 minutes after another mistake in the Swiss defence.

Spain will meet either Netherlands or South Africa at the quarter-final stage in Wellington on August 11.

Switzerland: 1 (Own Goal 11′)
Spain: 5 (Aitana BONMATI 5′, 36′, Alba REDONDO 17′, Laia CODINA 45′, Jennifer HERMOSO 70′)

HT: 1-4

Japan again outlined their credentials as title contenders with an impressive 3-1 victory over Norway in Wellington.

Having come through the group stage with three wins from three and no goals conceded, the Nadeshiko took on a Norway side who finished their Group A assignments with a 6-0 win over the Philippines, setting up an intriguing Round of 16 clash.

A quarter of an hour in, Japan took the lead when Hinata Miyazawa’s cross was inadvertently deflected into her own net by Ingrid Syrstad Engen.

The Norwegians hit back quickly however, when Guro Reiten rose highest to meet a right-hand side cross from Vilde Boe Risa and power her header past goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – AUGUST 05: Hinata Miyazawa of Japan celebrates after scoring her team’s third goal during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Round of 16 match between Japan and Norway at Wellington Regional Stadium on August 05, 2023 in Wellington / Te Whanganui-a-Tar, New Zealand. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Five minutes into the second-half and Japan took what would prove to be their winning lead. Boe Risa failed to clear her lines in defence, passing straight to Rise Shimizu, who’s close-range effort deflected past Aurora Mikalsen and into the back of the net.

With Norway chasing the game, gaps were appearing all over the pitch and Japan took full advantage when the outstanding Miyazawa was played through on goal by Aoba Fujino and the competition’s top scorer cooly slid the ball past Mikalsen.

For all their endeavour, Norway struggled to get back into the contest, though did come close to a late goal when Karina Saevik’s header appeared goal-bound, only for Yamashita to heroically claw the ball out to preserve Japan’s two goal lead.

Japan now await the result of Sweden and the USA’s fixture on Sunday to determine their opponents in the quarter-finals.

Japan: 3 (Own Goal 15′, Risa SHIMIZU 50′, Hinata MIYAZAWA 81′)
Norway: 1 (Guro REITEN 20′)

HT: 1-1