Norway eliminated as Japan advances to the quarterfinals

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After Spain’s victory over Switzerland earlier in the day, a round-of-16 clash between Japan and Norway became another enthralling game. Japan, who emerged winners of Group C, were to face off against Norway, the runner-up of Group A, to decide which nation would advance to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals. The game ended 3-1 in favor of Japan, who have now successfully booked a place in the quarterfinals.

Japan opened the scoring when they took the lead in the 15th minute after Ingrid Engen, in an attempt to stop the ball from reaching the Japanese forward lurking in the box, deflected a cross-drilled into the box beyond her own goalkeeper. 

Norway equalized five minutes later when Guro Reiten headed the ball home from a cross. The goal forced both teams to draw at halftime. However, it was Japan that dominated most of the game.

Things changed in the second half when Japan scored their second goal in the 50th minute, courtesy of Risa Shimizu. Norway kept piling pressure on Japan’s backline in search of another equalizer, and they came very close to getting a goal but were denied by the heroics of Japan’s goalkeeper, Ayaka Yamashita.

As Norway continued their search for a second goal, Japan hit them on the counter, and striker Hinata Miyazawa buried the ball into the back of the net to secure Japan’s place in the quarterfinals.

Barcelona Femeni players, Ingrid Engen and Caroline Graham Hansen, who represent Norway, and Switzerland’s Ana Maria Crnogorcevic have had their World Cup runs brought to an end.

Japan’s win over Norway will have them play against the winner of the round of 16 clash between Sweden and the defending champions, the USA.

Their loss to Japan implies that Norway, like fellow group member Switzerland, has been eliminated from the World Cup.

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