Aitana Bonmati stole the show as Spain cruised into their first ever Women’s World Cup quarter-final, beating Switzerland 5-1 on Saturday.
- Spain reach first Women’s World cup quarter-final
- Bonmati gets two goals and two assists in 5-1 win
- Redondo, Codina & Hermoso also net against Switzerland
Switzerland hadn’t conceded in any of their last four games, three of those ending goalless, but the chances of this match-up in Auckland being a dull affair vanished early on, Bonmati breaking the deadlock with just five minutes on the clock. Alba Redondo, one of five changes to the Spain team that lost 4-0 to Japan on Monday, had her effort at the back post brilliantly saved by Gaelle Thalmann but the danger wasn’t over, Bonmati getting the loose ball in a central area and turning away from a defender superbly before finishing past the goalkeeper.
Spain did lose their lead briefly, a moment of madness seeing Laia Codina’s awful back-pass run right past debutante shot-stopper Cata Coll and into the back of the net for the Switzerland equaliser, but Redondo headed in Ona Batlle’s cross just six minutes later to make it 2-1. From there, La Roja cruised, Bonmati picking up another loose ball in the box and deceiving several defenders, and Thalmann, before finishing, while Codina scrambled home a corner just before half-time to make amends for her earlier mistake.
Switzerland made a triple change at the break and it was one of those coming on, Meriame Terchoun, who had their first shot just before the hour – but it wasn’t a sign of things to come. Spain remained in full control of the game and Jenni Hermoso got in on the act to make it 5-1, played in by Bonmati to curl the ball around Thalmann and put the cherry on the cake as La Roja booked their place in the last eight.
Without any Bonmati is certainly the MVP and possibly the front-runner for the Ballon d’Or coming into this tournament, She (Bonmati) did her chances of picking up that individual accolade later this year no harm at all as she played a starring role to help Spain win a Women’s World Cup knockout match for the very first time. As well as scoring two brilliant goals, she also ended the game with two assists in a really impressive display.
On the other hand the an incredible forward in her playing days, Switzerland head coach Inka Grings is yet to really maximise the potential of the attacking options in her squad. Only two of La Nati’s players scored in this tournament, both in the 2-0 win over the Philippines. More needs to be done in the final third for them to take the next steps in their journey.
Switzerland will heads home, Spain will face either the Netherlands or South Africa in their first ever Women’s World Cup quarter-final. The identity of their opponent will be decided on Sunday, August 6.