Spain Women will be looking to continue their winning start to the 2023 Women’s World Cup when they take on Zambia Women in Auckland on Wednesday morning (08.30).
La Roja breezed through their opening encounter against Costa Rica, while Zambia suffered a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Japan in their first-ever match on the global stage.
Spain laid down a marker against Costa Rica and will be hoping to continue their winning start but Zambia’s World Cup debut will be an experience to forget.
Following Friday’s routine victory in Wellington, there’s little reason for Jorge Vilda to change too much.
Alexia Putellas will be hoping to see more action, coming off the bench in the 77th minute, as she’s eased back into action following an ACL injury a year ago.
Zambia come into this one very depleted, losing star midfielder Grace Chanda on the eve of the tournament.
First-choice goalkeeper Hazel Nali also suffered an injury just before the Japan game, with her deputy Catherine Musonda then sent off in stoppage time on Saturday.
Spain to win 3-0 @ 13/2
In their last three outings, Spain won 2-0 against Denmark, beat Vietnam 9-0, and hammered Costa Rica 3-0.
La Roja are in sensational form winning nine of their last 10 matches in all competitions – including a seven-game winning streak – and in the victory over Costa Rica, they mustered 46 shots, the most shots any team has ever had in a women’s World Cup match since records began.
Zambia have conceded at least two goals or more goals in five of their last six matches, and with Spain’s quality, I think they will enjoy another comfortable victory here.
Esther Gonzalez to be first goalscorer @ 13/5
The Real Madrid forward managed to open her account for the tournament against Costa Rica, and I expect her to add to it here.
Gonzalez has scored 26 goals for Spain so far in 38 games, averaging 0.68 goals per game for La Roja.
In seven of her 38 games for national team, Gonzalez has scored two goals or more, so she knows where the back of the net is, and I’m expecting her to get chances and take advantage of a defence as vulnerable as Zambia’s.
Last season for Los Blancos, Gonzalez scored 16 goals in 27 league matches, so she has been in great form recently.