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Spain put five goals past Switzerland and score one on themselves from midfield

AUCKLAND — Five days after Spain's shock loss to Japan, a bold squad reshuffle by coach Jorge Vilda paid off for the Spanish team on Saturday as they thrashed Switzerland 5-1 in their last-16 Women's World Cup clash.

The victory launched La Roja into the quarterfinals for the first time in their history.

"(The 4-0 loss to Japan) really hurt and the healing of that pain will continue," Vilda told a press conference.

"So we analyzed what we could do, we trained, we saw what the players were like, we analyzed the rival. And we selected the 11 players that we believed are in the best condition to play the game."

Aitana Bonmati scored twice, and her first, in the fifth minute, was the first time the Swiss had conceded all tournament. Alba Redondo, Laia Codina and Jenny Hermoso completed the rout.

Spain vs Switzerland highlights

"Today, we showed that Spain is a team of 23 players," Vilda said. "It's a very happy day - we scored goals. We could have scored more goals. And we're in the quarterfinals making history."

Saturday's victory comes less than a year since 15 players threatened to quit if long-time coach Vilda was kept on after their disappointingly abrupt Euro 2022 exit. The federation, however, backed the coach.

Asked if the win was a relief, Vilda said: "I don't see the weight off my shoulders. I see it as something that makes me very happy."

But the 25-year-old Bonmati, a midfielder for Barcelona, said she was proud of her team's work on Saturday.

"It wasn't easy to play today after what happened the other day," she said. "And this is when you really see the personality of the team and the personality of the players. And I hope that we will be here for many days."

Spain's resounding win also came without Alexia Putellas, the reigning Ballon d'Or winner, in the starting 11 as she continues recovering fitness after a serious knee injury.

Bonmati's appearance in the starting line-up appears the only certainty after her performance on Saturday.

"We've shown you again that they all deserve to be in the starting lineup," the coach said. "I have the 23 best players in the world."

Spain takes on the winner of the South Africa-Netherlands round-of-16 game in the quarter-finals.

(Reporting by Lori Ewing in Sydney Editing by Helen Popper)

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