With a surprisingly clear 4:0 (3:0) over Spain, the Japanese soccer players sent a strong signal to the competition at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and secured first place in Group C.
In front of 20,957 spectators in Wellington on Monday, Hinata Miyazawa (12th/40th minute) with her tournament goals three and four, Riko Ueki (29th) and Mina Tanaka (82nd) scored the goals for coach Futoshi Ikeda's team.
"While the other side had the ball, we tried to go as fast as possible in the tackles and after winning the ball. I think we managed that quite well," said Ikeda, whose team has a minimal percentage of possession (23 percent). knew how to start. Spain coach Jorge Vilda acknowledged both defensive and offensive weaknesses: "We haven't seen the best from Spain," he said.
In the round of 16 next Saturday, Japan, who finished the group stage with 11-0 goals, will meet Norway (10:00 CEST). Group runners-up Spain take on Switzerland on the same day (7am CEST), coached by former Germany international Inka Grings.
World Cup out for Zambia and Costa Rica
Behind Japan (9 points) and Spain (6), Zambia (3) finished third in Group C and was eliminated along with Costa Rica (0). In the meaningless last game, the Africans won in front of 8117 spectators in Hamilton against bottom Costa Rica 3:1 (2:0). Lushomo Mweemba (3'), Barbra Banda (31') and Racheal Kundananji (90') scored for Zambia, with Melissa Herrera scoring the second after the break (47').
In the duel for group victory, the Japanese pursued a clear strategy against Spain: defensively secure, counterattack and use the shots effectively. This was particularly impressive in the first round. Virtually every shot led to a goal. Even after the change of sides, the southern Europeans never found their line.