Japan took a step closer to a second Women’s World Cup title when they beat Norway to reach the quarter-finals.
The 2011 champions made the ideal start when Norway defender Ingrid Engen turned Hinata Miyazawa’s cross into her own net.
However, Norway equalised a few minutes later when Guro Reiten headed home.
Risa Shimizu’s heavily defected strike restored Japan’s lead before Hinata Miyazawa raced through to score a third and seal her side’s progress.
The goal cemented Japan’s place in the quarter-finals and kept Miyazawa on target for the Golden Boot – she leads the scoring charts in Australia and New Zealand on five.
“I am really happy to have scored the goal but it is because all of the team worked for that,” she said. “I want to score more.”
Norway were second best for much of the game but almost set up an exciting finish when goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita superbly kept out Karina Saevik’s bullet header.
Japan will play either defending champions the United States or Sweden in the last eight.
“The team is very positive, kept up the pace and I think we have become tougher than before,” Japan coach Futoshi Ikeda said.