At Eden Park on Saturday, Spain defeated Switzerland 5-1 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup for the first time in their nation’s history. Aitana Bonmati was a key figure in the victory, playing a starring role by scoring twice and assisting on both goals.
The first goal scored by Bonmati in Spain’s match against New Zealand in the round of 16 was cancelled out by a remarkable own goal made by Laia Codina. However, Alba Redondo regained the advantage for Spain, and Bonmati scored again to make the score 3-1.
After that, Codina made up for her mistake by scoring the fourth goal for her side just before halftime, and Jennifer Hermoso made it 5-1 in the second half in front of 43,217 spectators, which is a new record for the number of people attending a football match in New Zealand.
The success was a significant lift for Spain after their 4-0 loss by Japan in their previous group game, and the performance validated coach Jorge Vilda’s choice to leave Alexia Putellas out of his starting line-up. The performance also justified the decision to keep Alexia Putellas out of the starting line-up.
The current holder of the Ballon d’Or is still working to regain his health after suffering a catastrophic knee injury. Although he is expected to play a significant part later in the tournament, he was only used in a cameo capacity during this match.
Next Friday in Wellington, Spain will play either the Netherlands or South Africa for a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time ever. They can now look forward to making history in the tournament.
They were just in a different league than a Swiss squad that had made it to the round of 16 without allowing an opponent to score but whose elimination meant that they had never won a knockout game at a big event.
Following the humiliating loss to Japan, Vilda reacted by making five changes to his lineup, one of which was the removal of Putellas.
Most notably, Misa Rodriguez was replaced in goal at her club Barcelona by Cata Coll, who had previously served as a back-up. Additionally, Codina made her debut in the World Cup playing the center defense position. This was her first international competition.
– A really ridiculous own goal –
Despite the fact that another member from the team that won the UEFA Champions League, Barcelona, was left on the bench at Putellas, Spain’s starting lineup had six players from the club.
And it was one of the Barcelona players, Bonmati, who tallied the game’s first goal within of the first five minutes. Bonmati scored after taking a beautiful touch to position herself up for the opportunity.
This happened after Switzerland had just surrendered for the first time at this World Cup, when Redondo’s shot from a Salma Paralluelo cross had been deflected by goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann onto the post. This was Switzerland’s first loss of the tournament.
They were given a chance to tie the score 11 minutes into the game when Codina, who was not very deep inside her own half, threw a ball back into her own box without looking up, and it resulted in a ridiculous own goal that Codina scored by beating Coll.
However, Spain regained the lead not long after that when Bonmati glanced on a cross from the left by Ona Batlle and Redondo arrived to go back home. This put Spain in the lead.
Before making it 3-1 in spectacular fashion in the 36th minute, Bonmati was running wild and had a wonderful chance for another goal, but Thalmann made a great stop.
Redondo’s attempt to score off of Paralluelo’s cross was stopped, but Bonmati was able to pounce on the loose ball and complete the play after he fooled the Swiss defense with a spin that was reminiscent of Johan Cruyff.
After that, Codina scored another goal after a goalmouth scramble following a corner kick, and the score was 4-1 going into the halftime break despite Switzerland not having a shot on goal.
Twenty minutes before the end of the game, Bonmati pounced on a sloppy ball out by Switzerland and passed in Hermoso to score the fifth goal for Brazil.
After a little while, Bonmati was taken out of the match, and Putellas was brought in for the last quarter of an hour. By this point, Spain’s focus had already shifted to the subsequent round.At Eden Park on Saturday, Spain defeated Switzerland 5-1 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup for the first time in their nation’s history. Aitana Bonmati was a key figure in the victory, playing a starring role by scoring twice and assisting on both goals.