The Japanese celebrating their qualification to the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup
The Japanese celebrating their qualification to the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup

Spain, Japan first two teams to qualify for quarter-finals of 2023 Women’s World Cup

Spain and Japan have secured their places in the quarter-finals of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup after victories over Switzerland and Norway respectively in their Round of 16 clashes played on Saturday, August 5.

While Spain defeated Switzerland 5-1 at the Eden Park in Auckland, Japan won 3-1 against Norway at the Wellington Regional Stadium.

An Aitana Bonmatí masterclass steered Spain to that 5-1 thrashing of Switzerland and into the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

Superstar midfielder Bonmatí scored a brilliant double and was at the heart of everything good for the European powerhouses. Laia Codina scored at both ends with Alba Redondo and Jennifer Hermoso also on target at Eden Park.

Spain will next face the winner of Sunday’s match between the Netherlands and South Africa in Sydney.

On the other hand, Japan, who beat Norway 3-1 to book their place in the quarter-finals will advance to play the winner of Sunday's clash between Sweden and the United States.

Spain celebrate their third goal of the game, scored by Aitana Bonmatí. Photograph: Hannah Peters/FIFA/Getty Images

Risa Shimizu and Hinata Miyazawa both scored to help Japan secure the win, in what was a captivating game of football.

Japan took the lead after 15 minutes, with Ingrid Engen tapping Miyazawa's cross into the back of her net scoring an own goal.

Goalkeeper Aurora Watten Mikalsen scrambled to try and save the own goal, but her attempts were in vein, with the score being the first goal Hege Riise's sides have conceded at the Women's World Cup.

Norway equalised just five minutes later, with Aurora Watten Mikalsen sending a direct ball upfield to find Vilde Boe Risa on the right flank.

It was the first goal Japan had conceded at the tournament so far, but they continued to press on the Norwegian side.

Japan’s attack was impressive but they lacked the clinical edge they showed during their epic 4-0 win against Spain last week.

However, Japan continued to advance on the Norway goal after half-time and had their first shot on target in the 47th minute, with Hasegawa breaking through into the box to get a shot away at Mikalsen.

Japan were forced to work for the win despite holding the two-goal lead, but held on to their opponent's late advances to book their place in the quarter-finals of the competition. 

Below are other fixtures in the Round of 16

Sunday 2am: Netherlands versus South Africa at Sydney Football Stadium

Monday 10:30 am: Nigeria versus England at Lang Park, Brisbane

Tuesday 8am: Colombia versus Jamaica at Hindmarsh, Adelaide

Tuesday 12pm: France versus Morocco at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium

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