Japan and Spain have both put their hands up as World Cup contenders with impressive wins in their round of 16 clashes.

Japan accounted for Norway 3-1, while Spain thumped Switzerland 5-1.

Japan dominated possession and territory early against Norway in Wellington, and that pressure paid off when Ingrid Engen directed a cross into her own net.

Norway surprisingly hit back with their first attack of the game on 20 minutes, with Guro Reiten soaring high to head home powerfully.

Another Norwegian mistake in the second half resulted in Japan taking the lead, with Vilde Boa Risa’s poor clearance going straight to Risa Shimizu, who’s deflected shot hit the back of the net.

With Norway throwing everything into attack in an attempt to find an equaliser, Japan were able to hurt them on the counter attack, with Hinata Miyazawa slotting home her fifth goal of the World Cup to secure the result.

Earlier, Spain bounced back from a 4-0 loss to Japan in the group stage with an emphatic 5-1 demolition of Switzerland at Eden Park in New Zealand.

As ever, Spain were completely dominant in possession, but this time they converted that into goals.

Aitana Bonmati was superb in midfield, and she scored a brilliant first-half brace, either side of a horrendous own goal from Laia Codina and an Alba Redondo strike.

Codina became only the third player in Women’s World Cup history to score at both ends to round out a 4-1 first half display from Spain.

Jenni Hermoso added a fifth for Spain in a second term in which they took their foot off the pedal but easily dominated. They play the winner of Netherlands-South Africa in the next round.

Meanwhile, Australian talisman Sam Kerr has told reporters upon arrival at Sydney that she will play in Australia’s round of 16 clash against Denmark on Monday night in Sydney.

The Matildas captain has not played a minute so far at this World Cup.

See how it all played out in our live blog.

Key events

Japan vs Norway

That’s it from me

Endo waves to the crowd.

A couple of impressive wins as we reach the pointy end of the tournament.

Oh, and Sam Kerr casually mentioning she will play against Denmark in Australia’s round of 16 clash.

See you tomorrow for more Women’s World Cup knock-out action.


FULL-TIME: Japan 3 – 1 Norway

Japan players celebrate

Japan are into the quarter finals in some syle!

It was a very different game to their demolition of Spain, but the result is the same.

While other sides have shown weaknesses in this World Cup, Japan are probably the only team to impress in every single game.

They can defend, they can attack, they can hang on to the ball or play without it.

Very impressive, and for me, they are currently the tournament favourites.

90+1′ Incredible save from Yamashita

Saevik heads powerfully at goal from close range and the Japanese keeper SOMEHOW keeps it out. 

We’re into 5 minutes of stoppage time.

Sam Kerr says she’s playing on Monday

Upon arrival at Sydney Airport, Sam Kerr has told Channel 9 she will play against Denmark on Monday night.

Just thought you might like to know that.

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Miyazawa scoring

Miyazawa cooly slots home! That should be that.

With Norway streaming forward they were ripe for the picking. It was Fujino with the perfectly weighted through ball for Miyazawa, who has her fifth goal of the tournament.

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78′ Maanum stings the hands of Yamashita

You feel the whole match hinges on these few minutes.

Norway are throwing everything at it. Can Japan withstand the pressure, or even sting them on the counter?

Norway have stepped up a gear

Ada Hegerberg is on. It’s all or nothing now.

Karina Saevik flashes across the face of goal. That was a tremendous chance, the ball reached her off a defender’s feet. I don’t know if they’ll get a better opportunity than that.

73′ Japan come close again

Substitute Riko Ueki goes on a dashing run down the right, with her cross is headed back into the keeper’s hands.

Norway have a corner down the other end – could they sneak another goal? No, it’s dealt with well by Japan.

65′ Hinata Miyazawa has a shot from way out

It sails well over, but it came at the end of a long period of possession for Japan. They are fully in control here, and don’t look like giving Norway much of a chance. Up to the Europeans to figure out a way to shake things up.

I’m increasingly convinced that Japan are tournament favourites here. Hard to find any faults.

STAT: Japan have attempted 475 passes in this match, higher than their average of 474 in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. (PressBox)

Moeka Minami on the ball


Japan players celebrate

There’s the critical breakthrough!

Japan worked it well into the box and then a poor ball out from Boa Risa went staight to Risa Shimizu, who’s shot comes off a defensive leg and settles in the back of the net.

As a neutral you love to see it, this match was threatening to turn into a bit of a game of chess. Now Norway have to chase the game, and that will give Japan even more opportunities to find space.

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The second half is underway

Who’s going to take the cookies in the Cake Tin?


Top scorers at the World Cup

Own goal — 8

Alexandra Popp, Germany — 4

Hinata Miyazawa, Japan — 4

Alba Maria Redondo Ferrer, Spain — 3

Aitana Bonmati, Spain — 3

Jennifer Hermosa Fuentes, Spain — 3

Lauren James, England — 3

Sophie Román Haug, Norway — 3

Amanda Ilestedt, Sweden — 3

Ary Borges, Brazil — 3

Jill Roord, Netherlands — 3

Kadidiatou Diani, France — 3

HALF-TIME: Japan 1 – 1 Norway


Fair result for that half, Japan were probably the better side but they need to find more of a spark in the final third.

Norway have done well to contain them so far, and snatch that goal on the break.

Tillies update

Getting nervous yet?

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Own goal fan

You love an own goal, don’t you Dan? Wasn’t that your thing during the men’s Euros?

– Own goal fan

This is true. What is it with own goals in recent tournaments?