Overnight at the Women’s World Cup both Japan and Spain cruised to victory while it was
heartbreak for the Republic of Ireland squad as their chances of qualifying for the round of
16 were shattered by Canada in Perth.
Japan vs Costa Rica
The Japanese continued their excellent start to this year's Women’s World Cup by beating Costa Rica by 2 goals to 0 in Dunedin. Two quick fire goals in the 25th and 27th minute was enough to send them joint top of Group B with six points.
Japan dominated the game from start to finish, they were in control of the possession and kept forcing Costa Rica’s keeper Daniela Solera into some early saves. But the deadlock was broken in the 25th minute, Hikaru Naomoto pounced on a slip by Maria Coto (after the defender aimed to meet a cross) and calmly picked her spot before firing the ball into the bottom corner. Then just two minutes later Aoba Fujino doubled her side's lead with her powerful strike squeezing past Solera at the near post. In the second half the Japanese looked continually dominant and if it wasn’t for Solera in the Costa Rica goal the scoreline could’ve been a lot worse. Japan have looked one of the most impressive teams at this tournament so far, it will be interesting to see how they get on against Spain in their final group game on Monday and how far they really can progress in this tournament. As for Costa Rica their tournament is officially over, however, they would surely love
to score their first ever World Cup goal against Zambia before they return home.
Spain vs Zambia
After a comfortable 3-0 victory over Costa Rica in match one, Spain were looking to pick up where they left off against another tournament debutant side in Zambia. And that’s exactly what they did, they thrashed them 5-0.
In fact, it took just 9 minutes for La Roja’s to take the lead, an incredible long range shot from
Teresa Abelleira found the top corner. And just 4 minutes later it was 2-0, Jennifer Hermoso got on the end of a cross and headed home on her 100th appearance for her nation.
In the second half it continued to be all Spain, Redondo took the ball round the Zambian keeper to make it 3-0, and one minute later Hermoso scored her second goal of the game and her 50th goal for her country.
Hermoso could have had a hat-trick just moments later but her shot was pushed onto the
crossbar. However, it was soon 5-0 as Redondo also grabbed her second goal of the game in the closing moments.
One thing is for certain the Spanish mean business at this year's World Cup, could they go all the way and win? Only time will tell...
Canada vs Ireland
Despite losing their first game to co hosts of the tournament Australia, the Republic of Ireland
showed some real guts and courage in defence, could they find a way to beat Olympic Champions Canada? Well they thought they had through Katie McCabe but it wasn’t to be, the Canadians eventually ran out 2-1 winners ending the Republic of Ireland’s first ever World Cup campaign in the group stages.
It all started so well for Ireland, as a moment of brilliance and a slight bit of Irish luck from Katie McCabe gave them lift off. The Arsenal forwards superb corner flew over everyone and straight into the top corner after just four minutes.
They looked to build on the one goal and had their chances to add a second, but the Canadians soon showed why they are Olympic Champions, in first half injury-time it was soon 1-1. Julia Grosso’s cross took an unfortunate touch off Irish defender Megan Connolly which took it past Courtney Brosnan.
And just eight minutes into the second-half it went from bad to worse for Ireland as Adriana Leon got on the end of a ball forward before Brosnan could and poked her side into a 2-1 lead. Even though they continued to press forward, Ireland just couldn’t find that vital second goal to keep their hopes alive. Canada on the other hand are in a good position to qualify for the round of 16 (if all goes their way) but they do face a tough test in their final group game, as they face co hosts Australia on Monday.