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Spain slams Switzerland, 5-1

Spain players celebrate their third goal during the Women's World Cup round of 16 football match against Switzerland at Eden Park in Auckland on August 5, 2023. (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP)

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AFP)–Aitana Bonmati played a starring role with a brace and two assists as Spain crushed Switzerland 5-1 at Eden Park on Saturday to march into the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup for the first time in their history.

Bonmati’s early opener in the last-16 tie in Auckland was cancelled out by a spectacular own goal from Laia Codina, but Alba Redondo restored Spain’s lead and Bonmati scored again to make it 3-1.

Codina then made up for her error by getting her team’s fourth before the interval, and Jennifer Hermoso made it 5-1 in the second half in front of 43,217 fans, a new record crowd for a football match in New Zealand.

The result was a huge boost to Spain following its 4-0 defeat by Japan in its last group game, and the performance justified coach Jorge Vilda’s decision to leave Alexia Putellas out of his starting lineup.

The reigning Ballon d’Or winner is still recovering fitness following a serious knee injury and could yet play a key role later in the tournament, but made just a cameo here off the bench.

Spain can now look forward to playing in the last eight of the World Cup for the first time when it faces the Netherlands or South Africa in Wellington next Friday.

They were simply a class above a Swiss team who had reached the last 16 without conceding a goal but whose exit means they have still never won a major tournament knockout game.

Putellas was dropped as Vilda responded to the chastening Japan defeat by making five changes to his line-up.

Most notably, Misa Rodriguez made way in goal for Cata Coll, a back-up at her club Barcelona. Codina also came into central defense for her first appearance at the World Cup.

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