NEW ZEALAND: Japan displayed a masterful performance at the Women’s World Cup, defeating Spain 4-0 and securing the first-place position in Group C. Led by Hinata Miyazawa, Japan executed impressive counterattacks, resulting in three quick goals in the first half.
Riko Ueki and Momoko Tanaka were among the scorers, showcasing Japan’s attacking prowess.
As the 2011 World Cup champions and 2015 runners-up, Japan’s solid performance in the group stage has set them up for a round of 16 clash against Norway. Meanwhile, Spain, despite the defeat, also progressed to the knockout round and will face Switzerland in Auckland.
Coach Futoshi Ikeda praised the team’s focus on counterattacking in their first two games, which proved to be a winning strategy against Spain.
In the 12th minute, against the run of play, Japan scored their opening goal, stunning Spain. Miyazawa found the net with a well-placed left-footed shot, courtesy of a well-crafted pass by Jun Endo. Ueki’s goal in the 29th minute further surprised Spain, as Nadeshiko capitalized on the break to find the net.
By the 40th minute, Miyazawa secured her second goal of the match, assisted by Ueki, leaving Spain trailing. Despite controlling possession and completing over 900 passes, Spain struggled to break through Japan’s solid defense, which has yet to concede a goal in the tournament.
Coach Jorge Vilda acknowledged the need to tighten their defense and vowed to bounce back strongly against Switzerland.
Japan’s dominant display and Spain’s progress to the knockout stage set the stage for exciting matches ahead as the Women’s World Cup continues.