News Japan, Spain Enter QFs Of FIFA Women's World Cup 2023

Japan advanced to the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 with an emphatic 3-1 Round-of-16 win over Norway at Wellington Regional Stadium on Saturday.

The impressive win means Japan await the winners of Sunday’s encounter between the United States and Sweden in the quarter-final match scheduled for Friday in Auckland.  
Unlike their previous game when they hammered Spain 4-0 despite having less than 30% of the possession, the Nadeshiko took the game to their opponents in Wellington, enjoying 56% of the ball in the first 45 minutes.
The early dominance was translated into a couple of efforts that lacked accuracy as the tournament’s joint top scorer Hinata Miyazawa tried her luck from range and Risa Shimizu struck on the half-volley from the right side of the box but both attempts went high and wide inside the opening 10 minutes.
Just as the clock hit the quarter-hour mark, Japan took the lead when Miyazawa’s diagonal ball into the penalty area was awkwardly deflected by Ingrid Syrstad Engen who attempted to clear, but instead put the ball beyond the reach of her goalkeeper and into the back of the net for an own goal.
The Japanese lead lasted all of five minutes before Norway hit back with what was their first effort on goal. Vilda Boe Risa broke free down the right flank and delivered a pinpoint cross for Guro Reiten who rose highest and powered home the equaliser, ending Japan’s run of 290 minutes without conceding a goal since the start of the tournament.
Shimizu continued to pose a threat, with Japan keeping up the pressure, and the West Ham United right back found herself in plenty of space down the flank once more but sliced her effort just wide four minutes before the break.
It was third time lucky for Shimizu who made her way inside the area and intercepted a back pass from Boa Risa before applying the finish to restore Japan’s lead within five minutes of the restart.
Just after coming on for Mina Tanaka, Riko Ueki embarked on a mazy run down the right and nearly forced another own goal as her cross was headed backwards by Norway captain Maren Mjelde but goalkeeper Aurora Mikalsen was alert and caught the ball.The Japanese fans at Wellington Regional Stadium breathed a collective sigh of relief as Yui Hasegawa’s attempt to block the ball inadvertently sent it into the path of substitute Karina Saevik who was left with just the goalkeeper to beat but her drilled effort crept just wide off the upright.

Miyazawa put the game to bed, adding Japan’s third goal with just nine minutes to go as she latched on the end of an exquisite through ball from youngster Aoba Fujino and kept her calm to slot home her fifth goal of the campaign, moving clear off Germany’s Alexandra Popp as the top scorer of the tournament.

It took a miraculous save from goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita to deny Norway their second goal in added time as Sophie Roman Haug headed the ball across the box for the onrushing Saevik who directed a powerful header that looked destined for the back of the net, but the INAC Kobe Leonessa players produced a flying save to keep it out and help the Nadeshiko see the game through with a two-goal margin.
In another match, Aitana Bonmati played a starring role with a brace and two assists as Spain defeated Switzerland 5-1 at Eden Park on Saturday to march into the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time in their history.
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