MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 31: Steph Catley #7 of Australia celebrates ger goal with teammates during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group B match between Canada and Australia at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on July 31, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images )

FIFA WWC Match Day 12 - Groups take shape amid mix of emotions

Keep up to date with Edge of the Crowd's coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, as an action-packed Day 12 saw a mix of important match-ups, do-or-die clashes, and dead rubbers. How did it all unfold? Read on to find out.

Catch up with everything that happened on Day 11 right here:

Costa Rica v Zambia

Despite an aggressive playing style, Zambia was yet to record its maiden World Cup win coming into its matchup against Costa Rica.

Lushomo Mweemba was the architect of a dream start for Zambia, taking advantage of a corner in the third minute to put the Zambians on the board, before Barbra Banda doubled the lead from the penalty spot.

Melissa Herrera came back after the break for Costa Rica and brought the lead back, but it wasn’t to be, as Rachael Kundananji gave Zambia a third goal, and nation's first-ever Women’s World Cup win.

Japan v Spain

Japan wrapped up top spot in Group C with a thumping win over Spain. It was a result that was a reminder to the rest of the tournament that the Nadeshiko can do plenty of damage in the knockout stages. Hinata Miyazawa was first to get on the board for Japan, capitalising on a cross from Jin Endo that set her up perfectly.

Riko Ueki followed that up with an impressive solo effort down the left side that doubled the lead inside half an hour. Miyazawa added another goal to her tally for the tournament before the break to put an emphatic end to the first half,

Japan continued to control the second half too, as Mina Tanaka added the finishing touches on a dominant win, leaving Spain to kick its wounds ahead of the knockout phase.

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Ireland v Nigeria

Nigeria came into the game knowing that anything better than a two-goal loss would be enough to see the side into the knockout stages, while Ireland was playing for pride alone, with its hopes already faded.

Both sides struggled to find their rhythm early, with neither side showing the best of their attacking potential. Courtney Brosnan pulled off one of the saves of the tournament, as she used the crossbar to her advantage.

As time slipped away, Ireland saw the hope of their first-ever points in the tournament with a draw, while Nigeria was forced to settle for second in the group, unable to find a winner to break the deadlock.

Canada v Australia

All the pressure was on Australia after a disappointing loss to Nigeria, while Canada’s win over Ireland meant that a draw would suffice to send the Olympic champions to the knockout phase.

Unfortunately for Canada, someone forgot to tell Australia that was the script, as Hayley Raso piled on two goals before the half.

Mary Fowler looked threatening all day, and broke through just before the hour mark, after having a first-half effort disallowed for offside. A late Steph Catley penalty made it 4-0 and ensured that one of the host nations was headed to the knockouts from the top of Group B.

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