- SOCCER WORLD CUP
(UPDATE 4) Nadeshiko Japan Cruise Past Spain to Top Soccer Group
16:33 JST, July 31, 2023
Nadeshiko Japan continued their perfect run at the Women’s World Cup with a 4-0 victory over No. 6-ranked Spain on Monday in Wellington, New Zealand.
By topping Group C, Japan’s national team will play 1995 Cup-winner Norway in the round of 16 in the knockout stage on Saturday in the same Wellington Regional Stadium. Spain faces Switzerland in Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, the same day.
Against Spain, 2011 champions Nadeshiko were quick to the ball, intercepting passes to launch counterattacks. Hinata Miyazawa opened the scoring in the 12th minute off a pass by Jun Endo, before Riko Ueki scored the second for Japan in the 29th minute. Miyazawa doubled her tally on 40 minutes as No. 11-ranked Japan led 3-0 at halftime.
There was no chance at a hat trick for Miyazawa as she was substituted to start the second half by Aoba Fujino.
Spain continued to attack to get back into the match. Nadeshiko held firm and put the game away for good in the 82nd minute. Mina Tanaka, who came on as a substitute for Ueki, showed off her individual skills to dribble past the defense and score.
Japan started its group matches with a 5-0 win over Zambia, followed by a 2-0 win over Costa Rica.
In the other Group C match Monday between eliminated teams, Zambia defeated Costa Rica 3-1 in Hamilton, New Zealand, for its first ever World Cup win in its debut tournament.
This year’s tournament is being jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
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