Switzerland 1-5 Spain: Aitana Bonmatí steers Spain into quarterfinals

Keen to live up to the hype that surrounded them ahead of the tournament getting underway, Spain took to the pitch against Switzerland on Saturday – desperate to progress to the quarterfinals against a Swiss side that have struggled for goals so far.

SUI: Thalmann; Riesen, Stierli, Maritz, Aigbobun; Reuteler, Wälti, Sow; Crnogorčević, Bachmann, Piubel

ESP: Coll; Batlle, Codina, Paredes, Hernández; Hermoso, Abelleira, Bonmatí; Paralluelo, González, Redondo

Spain’s wait for an opener lasted all of five minutes, after Salma Paralluelo’s cross from the left looked destined to find Alba Redondo in the centre. Nadine Riesen’s blushes were spared as she came just inches from turning the ball into her own net, but Redondo was ultimately able to play the ball back inside to Aitana Bonmatí – with the Barça star pulling off a silky Cruijff turn before rifling past Gaëlle Thalmann.

Bonmatí has long been heralded as the second coming of Alexia Putellas – and the midfielder has certainly pulled her weight while covering for the two-time Ballon d’Or winner this season, who has been recovering from an ACL injury.

La Nati found themselves drawing level in the eleventh minute though, as a horrific attempt at a back-pass saw Laia Codina sending the ball well past her own goalkeeper and straight into the back of the net. Despite a shambolic opening ten minutes, Switzerland had been granted a golden ticket to put themselves back in contention – but would they be able to take full advantage?

Put simply, no. Spain’s second goal followed shortly after, with Alba Redondo dashing inside to latch onto the end of Ona Batlle’s cross from the left flank, sending a thumping headed effort across goal and into the bottom corner. Aitana Bonmatí registered the assist, having nodded the cross into place for the Levante winger.

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Yet Bonmatí’s influence on the match was far from over. With ten minutes remaining before the interval, Paralluelo’s cross from the left looked set to bobble just behind the Barcelona midfielder – but that was no problem as Redondo’s deft header sent the ball through perfectly for Bonmatí, who jinked past a handful of Swiss defenders before planting an effort past Thalmann.

Laia Codina was able to make amends for her earlier mishap on the stroke of half-time, with Teresa Abulleira’s delivery from the right bouncing around inside the area before falling perfectly for the defender. She merely poked an effort over the line, putting the game to bed with 45 minutes still to play in Auckland.

Switzerland’s first shot of the game came ten minutes into the second half, as Meriame Terchoun looked set to reduce the deficit from close range – but the substitute could only blast her effort straight into the grateful arms of Cata Coll.

With twenty minutes still to play at Eden Park, Aitana Bonmatí registered yet another assist. Pouncing on a sloppy Swiss pass, the Barça Femení midfielder slotted a cool through ball into the path of Jenni Hermoso. The striker opted to take the chance on herself despite options to her left, curling an effort into the top corner to ensure an emphatic win for la Roja.

Spain sealed their progression to the quarterfinals with a comfortable victory against Switzerland, with Aitana Bonmatí truly running the show from her midfield position. Spain will play either the Netherlands or South Africa next, with that clash taking place on Friday, 11 August at 02:00 UK time.

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