The Women’s World Cup has reached an exhilarating stage with the knockout phase underway. After two weeks of thrilling group stage matches featuring both competitive and one-sided encounters. In the opening matches of the knockout stage Women’s World Cup, Japan and Spain showcased their dominance with commanding victories over their respective opponents.
In Auckland, Spain faced Switzerland, and the match quickly turned into a one-sided affair. Spain’s Aitana Bonmatí opened the scoring early on after a save by Swiss keeper Gaëlle Thalmann. An unfortunate own goal from Laia Codina briefly gave Switzerland hope, but Spain responded emphatically. Alba Redondo and Bonmatí struck again, while Codina redeemed herself with another goal, leaving Switzerland struggling to find an answer.
Spain’s complete control was evident throughout the game, ending with 70% possession and 26 shots compared to Switzerland’s meager two. Jennifer Hermoso’s goal sealed a well-deserved 5-1 victory. It propelled Spain into the quarter-finals for the first time in the team’s history. They will face the winner of the Netherlands-South Africa match in the next round.
In Wellington, Japan’s offensive prowess was on display as they faced Norway. Japan’s early dominance led to an own goal by Norwegian midfielder Ingrid Syrstad Engen. However, Norway quickly responded with a perfectly placed header from Guro Reiten, leveling the score.
The game remained tense until the 50th minute when Japan’s Risa Shimizu stole the ball from the Norwegian defense and sent it into the net, giving Japan the lead. In the 81st minute, Aoba Fujino’s precise through-ball set up Hinata Miyazawa’s breakaway goal, sealing a decisive 3-1 victory for Japan.
With this win, Miyazawa took the lead in the Golden Boot race. Japan progressed to the quarter-finals with high hopes for their future in the tournament. They will face the winner of the Sweden-United States match in the next round.
The Women’s World Cup knockout stage promises even more excitement and fierce competition as teams vie for a spot in the championship match scheduled for August 20. With Japan and Spain ‘s impressive performances, the Women’s World Cup is set for captivating playoff games leading to a nail-biting finale.