Japan 4-0 Spain: Hinata Miyazawa leads the charge as her side STUN one of the tournament favourites to win Group C with perfect record
- The game was a shootout to see who would top Group C in the final game
- Both teams had secured qualification to the next round after winning first two
- Japan hit Spain on the counter attack with their opponents dominating the ball
Futoshi Ikeda’s side raced out of the blocks in New Zealand and took the lead when Hinata Miyazawa won a foot race to slide the ball past Misa Rodriguez and condemn the team ranked sixth in the world to their first goal conceded of the tournament.
The Europeans dominated the ball but struggled to create opportunities and it was soon 2-0 thanks to Riko Ueki, who finished off another fine Japan counter attack to double her side’s lead.
Spain’s lack of pace continued to show and before half-time it was 3-0. Miyazawa netted her second of the game as her team took an unassailable lead in what was a group-defining game.
It was Japan’s third shot of the game but they were proving clinical, with the 23-year-old taking the lead in the race for the Golden Boot as she took her goal tally to four for the tournament.
Japan thrashed Spain to ensure they topped Group C in their final group game of the World Cup
Hinata Miyazawa (left) netted twice as he side counter attacked to score on four occasions
Spain must now regroup ahead of the knockout stages following the unexpected thrashing
The fourth goal arrived just before full time with Mina Tanaka netting what was one of the goals of the tournament.
Picking the ball up on the right, she accelerated into the middle of the park, producing fine skill before creating space for herself and curling a fine left-footed effort into the top corner.
The result will be a huge confidence booster for Japan, who, as underdogs, will now fancy their chances of going far in the tournament.
For Spain, however, who were perhaps second favourites to lift the trophy behind the USA, the result will come as a blow, and Jorge Vilda’s side must regroup ahead of the knockout stages.