Three Gunners suffered World Cup exits on the first day of the knockout stages as Switzerland featuring Lia Walti and Noelle Martiz were eliminated from the competition, with Frida Maanum’s Norway following soon after.
The Swiss were handed a round of 16 meeting with Spain in Auckland, and were once again led out by skipper Lia in front of 43,217 - a record crowd for a football game in New Zealand.
Their attempt to reach a first-ever World Cup quarter-final suffered an early blow though when Aitana Bonmati netted after five minutes, but our duo’s side were back on level terms just six minutes later courtesy of a bizarre long-range Laia Codina own goal.
But that was as good as things got as strikes from Alba Redondo, Bonmati and Codina saw La Roja race into a 4-1 half-time lead, and Jennifer Hermoso added a fifth in the second half to condemn the Swiss to their heaviest World Cup defeat.
Lia and Noelle played the full 90 minutes, meaning they played in all four games of the tournament, with the latter completing the full 360 minutes on the pitch.
Frida meanwhile saw her hopes of replicating Norway’s 1995 World Cup win vanish after they were defeated 3-1 by Japan.
She had started all three group matches to help her nation get to this stage, but was dropped to the bench in Wellington and watched on as Ingrid Engen netted an own goal to put the Japanese ahead before Guro Reiten headed home to equalise.
A deflected Risa Shimizu strike was the cue for Frida to be introduced, and on 63 minutes she made her way onto the pitch to try and get her side back in contention, but Hinata Miyazawa added a third nine minutes from time to seal the win.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.