Women’s World Cup 2023: Live scores, fixtures, results, tables and top scorers
Spain and Japan became the first two teams to book their spots in the knockout stage of the 2023 Women’s World Cup on Wednesday.
The two sides will each other in the finale of Group C on Monday, July 31, knowing that the winner will face the runner-up of Group A and the loser will face the top team of Group A.
Having comfortably beaten Zambia 5-0 in its opening game, Japan continued its impressive showing at the World Cup against Costa Rica.
Through its slick passing maneuvers and tactical rigidity, it looked a class above the world No. 36, creating chances at will.
The breakthrough finally came in the 25th minute, Naomoto emphatically punishing an ill-timed mistake from a Costa Rican defender, powering the ball into the bottom corner to open the scoring.
And just two minutes later, the Asian nation had its second of the game.
The best photos of the 2023 Women’s World Cup
19-year-old forward Fujino, showing some tight dribbling skills and explosive speed to evade one defender, burst into the box before smashing the ball past Las Ticas goalkeeper Daniela Solera at her near post.
With its lead, Japan never let up, continuing to show its effective combination build up play and hard work off the ball as it stifled any Costa Rican attacks.
Although it will face much stiffer tests going forward, Japan has shown its credentials for competing for a second World Cup title.
As for Costa Rica, it will be eliminated from the World Cup if Spain avoids defeat against Zambia.
More to follow…