Auckland: An Aitana Bonmati-inspired Spain beat Switzerland 5-1 on Saturday to secure the nation’s place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.
The midfield maestro scored twice, with Alba Redondo, Laia Codina and Jennifer Hermoso also on target in a dominant display.
Spain hit the front early on when Bonmati superbly cut the ball back on to her left foot before slotting home with a clever finish.
Switzerland were soon level, though, and in bizarre fashion. Spain defender Codina misplaced a pass back to goalkeeper Cata Coll, with the ball rolling into the net to the amazement of the Eden Park crowd.
Jorge Vilda’s side responded defiantly to that shock blow and were back ahead when Redondo – starting her first game of the tournament – expertly placed an opportunistic header beyond Swiss stopper Gaelle Thalmann.
Spain were relentless at this point and forged 3-1 ahead through the brilliant Bonmati. If her first goal was good, then this one was exceptional. With one stunning turn inside the penalty box, she wrong-footed three Swiss defenders and their goalkeeper, then calmly finished to double her team’s advantage.
Spain all-but put the result beyond doubt just before half-time when Codina atoned for her own goal by prodding in from close range following a goalmouth scramble.
The second half was a more competitive affair, with Switzerland substitute Meriame Terchoun’s snapshot forcing a smart save from Coll.
Spain were to have the last word though, with Hermoso completing the scoring with a clinical strike.
Spain will face the winner of Sunday’s tie between the Netherlands and South Africa in the quarter-final.
Switzerland forward Ramona Bachmann said, “Today it was just difficult. You could see that Spain was a class better. In the first 20-25 minutes we had a few good attacks, but we weren’t clever playing them through to the end. We wanted to be dangerous on the counter-attack, which worked out a few times in the first half, but not so much in the second.”