Women’s soccer powerhouse Japan crushed Europe’s rising powerhouse Spain. Spain has been humiliated in both the men’s and women’s World Cups.

The Japan women’s national soccer team cruised to a 4-0 victory over Spain in the final Group C match of the Australia-New Zealand Women’s World Cup 2023 at Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, at 4 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday.

Japan was led by a two-goal, one-assist performance from forward Hinata Miyazawa, including a multi-goal game, and advances to the round of 16 as the group’s top team.

Spain, a rising European powerhouse, started Women’s Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putejas, but were held scoreless and dropped to second in the group.

Japan started in a 3-4-3 formation. Ayaka Yamashita was in goal and Minami Moeka, Saki Kumagai, and Hana Takahashi formed the back three. The midfielders were Fuka Nagano and Jun Endo, while the wingbacks were Risa Shimizu and Honaka Hayashi. In the attack, Miyazawa Hinata, Naomoto Hikaru, and Ueki Riko were on the field.

Spain countered with a 4-3-3 formation. Misa Rodriguez was in goal, and Ona Batay, Irene Parrade, Olga Carmona, and Rocio Galvez made up the defense. Teresa Aveliera, Altana Bonmati, and Alexia Putejas anchored the midfield, 꽁머니사이트 while Mariona Caldenti, Jennifer Hermoso, and Salma Parra Yunro attacked in search of goals.

Japan’s offense dominated the first half. Miyazawa scored the opening goal in the 12th minute and Ueki added another in the 29th minute. Spain struggled to organize their defense and conceded again in the 40th minute through Miyazawa.

In the second half, Spain made a change by removing Carmona and bringing on Oiane Hernandez, but to no avail. Even when Japan conceded possession, they attacked with precision, and Mina Tanaka scored again in the 37th minute to seal the game.

Japan is ranked 11th in the FIFA Women’s World Cup rankings and is Asia’s strongest team, having won the last Women’s World Cup in 2011. Although they were knocked out in the round of 16 at the 2019 tournament in France, they reached the final for the second straight tournament in 2015 in Canada, finishing as runners-up.

Spain is ranked sixth in the FIFA rankings, but is a continental European powerhouse that has only recently gained momentum. Real Madrid and Barcelona Women have been the mainstays of this growth. Barcelona Women won the UEFA Women’s Champions League in the 2021/22 season.

However, the Spanish national team has underperformed at the Women’s World Cup. In their first appearance at the tournament in Canada in 2015, Spain were eliminated in the group stage after losing to South Korea in the final. In 2019, they made it to the round of 16 for the first time, but that was it.

Spain’s loss to Japan was as shocking as the scoreline. The record shows why. It had been 11 years since Spain’s women’s national team had suffered a four-goal defeat since 2012. Spain’s UEFA Women’s World Cup match against Germany in Mannheim, Sweden on March 31, 2012.