Spain reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup for the first time after producing an outstanding display of firepower in Auckland to send Switzerland out.
La Roja were beaten 4-0 in their final group game by Japan five days earlier in Wellington but bounced back in style to score four times during a dominant first half showing in front of 43,217 – a record crowd for a football match in New Zealand.
Aitana Bonmati swept the Spanish ahead before Switzerland equalised when Laia Codina, without looking up, hit a back pass past her own keeper and into the net from 10 yards inside her own half.
Spain soon restored their lead through Alba Redondo’s header before Barcelona midfielder Bonmati produced a classy finish to make it 3-1.
In an incredible opening half, Codina made up for her own goal by adding Spain’s fourth after a scramble inside the box.
They added another after half-time through Jennifer Hermoso’s clinical finish – her third goal of this tournament.
Jorge Vilda’s side are the first to reach the last eight and will play the winners of Sunday’s match between the Netherlands and South Africa in the quarter-finals in Wellington next Friday.
Boss Vilda promised a response from his players after that comprehensive defeat and he got one as the side ranked sixth in the world got the job done before half-time in Auckland.
Vilda responded to the Japan defeat by making five changes, giving a debut to goalkeeper Cata Coll in place of first-choice Misa Rodriguez, who had started the previous three games in New Zealand.
Coll will not have appreciated the wild back pass by her Barcelona team-mate Codina.
That aside, this was a highly impressive performance for a team that came into this World Cup with a cloud of doubt hanging over the squad after a feud between Vilda and many senior players.
Those differences have been put aside for now and Spain look like a team playing in harmony. This was their third win in four games in New Zealand.
This was one game too many for Group A winners Switzerland, who had qualified for the knockout stage despite winning one game out of the three and scoring two goals in 270 minutes.
Ten of the starting XI at Eden Park were starting their fourth game after three successive clean sheets yet they were overwhelmed by their opponents.
Swiss boss Inka Grings had said that finding goals was a priority in training yet they struggled to trouble Spain’s defence and registered just one attempt on target.
They head home from their second Fifa Women’s World Cup having topped a group containing Norway, co-hosts New Zealand and the Philippines.
Having required a 121st minute winner in a play-off against Wales in Zurich to qualify, their World Cup ended in disappointing fashion, with their players looking crestfallen as they walked around the pitch applauding fans after full time.