Sports Desk, Jul 31 (EFE).- Japan delivered a statement victory on Monday as they hammered Spain 4-0 to take top spot in Group C.
The match had been billed as a showdown between two of the tournament’s heavyweights, but it soon turned into a rout for the well-drilled and clinical Japanese.
They let Spain enjoy the majority of possession but scythed through them on the counter attack, scoring three goals in the first half – including a brace from Hinata Miyazawa, who took her tally to four in the competition – as they repeatedly broke through the Iberian’s high line, before adding a fourth late in the second half.
The defeat means Spain finished in second place and will face Group A winners Switzerland in the round of 16, while Japan will take on runners up Norway.
Co-hosts Australia have also sealed their spot in the next round, after thrashing Canada 4-0 thanks to two goals from Hayley Raso and second-half efforts from Mary Fowler and Steph Catley.
Needing to win to avoid an embarrassing elimination on home turf, the Matildas overcame the immense pressure and rose to the occasion in front of a jubilant crowd in Melbourne.
Australia’s win means they finished top of Group B, and will face England, Denmark or China in the next round.
Reigning Olympic champions Canada, on the other hand, crashed out of the competition in the group stage for the first time since 2011 after failing to match Australia’s intensity.
In Monday’s other matches, Ireland drew 0-0 with Nigeria, meaning the West Africans advance Group B in second place behind Australia, while Zambia – who had already been knocked out – recorded their first ever World Cup win by defeating Costa Rica 3-1. EFE