Spain beats Zambia 5-0 in Women's World Cup
Spain's dominant 5-0 win over Zambia propels them into the last 16 of the Women's World Cup and secures Japan's spot in the knockout phase as well.
Spain put on a commanding display in their Women's World Cup clash against Zambia, securing a 5-0 victory that not only earned them a place in the last 16 but also propelled Japan into the knockout phase. Jennifer Hermoso and Alba Redondo were the stars of the match, each scoring twice to seal Spain's dominant win.
Spain's coach, Jorge Vilda, opted to start the newly recovered Alexia Putellas, who recently returned after suffering from a serious knee injury that kept her out of action for over nine months. Patellas made an immediate impact, contributing to early goals by Teresa Abelleira and Jennifer Hermoso at Eden Park.
In the second half, substitute Alba Redondo took center stage, scoring two goals on either side of another strike by Jennifer Hermoso, as Spain cruised to an impressive victory over Zambia.
Given Spain's large goal margin, the team now sits level on six points with Japan in Group C. However, Spain's superior goal difference ensures that they only need a draw in their upcoming match against Japan to secure the top spot in the group.
Coach Vilda made a wise decision to take off the reigning Ballon d'Or winner, Alexia Putellas, at halftime, looking to preserve her for the crucial Group C decider against Japan, scheduled for next Monday.
For Zambia, their Women's World Cup debut has been challenging, as they have already faced two successive 5-0 defeats, leaving them with no chance of progressing beyond the first round.
The return of Alexia Putellas has been a boost for both Spain and her club, Barcelona, as she made short appearances for the club towards the end of the season and started in a pre-World Cup friendly against Panama. Her presence on the field adds depth and strength to Spain's lineup, as demonstrated by her involvement in early goals against Zambia.
With the likes of Putellas and other standout players in their squad, including Mariona Caldentey, Spain showcased their talent and depth, fielding a strong Barcelona contingent of six players.