With poise and style in abundance, Japan march on into FIFA Women's World Cup quarterfinals

'Believe the hype!' - How Japan cruised into the World Cup quarterfinals (1:34)

Gabriel Tan recaps Japan's comfortable 3-1 win over Norway at the Women's World Cup. (1:34)

A thoroughly dominant group-stage campaign at the FIFA Women's World Cup was always going to leave Japan with plenty to live up to.

But just five days after a stunning 4-0 rout of Spain made everyone sit up and take notice, Nadeshiko backed it up at Wellington Regional Stadium on Saturday -- recording a convincing 3-1 win over Norway to advance into the quarterfinals and keep alive their hopes of a second crown.

With the scores level at halftime after Norway cancelled out Ingrid Syrstad Engen's opening own-goal with a fine header by Guro Reiten, Japan turned it up a notch after the break with goals from Risa Shimizu and Hinata Miyazawa at either end of the half proving crucial.

It will not get any easier for the Japanese with either United States or Sweden scheduled as their quarterfinal opponents yet, after another outstanding display, they will have good reason to believe that nothing is beyond them.

Especially after the poise and style they displayed in their dispatching of Norway.

Against Spain, perhaps the one team that enjoy dominating possession more than the Japanese, Futoshi Ikeda's charges had to adopt a different approach -- one that ultimately proved devastating as they destroyed the opposition on the counterattack.

It was back to business as usual on Saturday with Japan dictating proceedings from the opening whistle as they left Norwegians chasing shadows.

There was a touch of fortune in the way Nadeshiko edged ahead in the 15th minute when Engen inadvertently put the ball past her own goalkeeper from an miscued clearance, and then Norway deserved credit for producing a response just five minutes after when Reiten climbed above a couple of opponents to perfectly guide a header home.

It was the first goal the Japanese had conceded at the tournament, which also meant that for the first time since their campaign began, they had a real challenge issued back at them in response to them going ahead.

Rather than panic, Japan just continued being Japan. By controlling the ball and making the opposition do all the hard running. By patiently probing in the build-up but then increasing the pace once the ball was worked into the final third.

And just by keeping at the gameplan, the Japanese regained the lead five minutes into the second half when play was worked out to the left before a quick delivery whipped into the area was converted at the back post by Shimizu.

Even now when they were in possession of the lead, the routine was the same.

There was no immediate desire to be more cautious or defensive. As long as Norway did not show more dare, Nadeshiko were happy with the status quo.

As the game entered its closing stages, it was ultimately time for the Norwegians to throw caution to the wind.

That was then Japan reverted to the Plan B that had worked so well against Spain, hitting Norway on the counter with nine minutes remaining to effectively seal their place in the last eight.

It was hardly surprising that it was Miyazawa who netted that third, as the 23-year-old became the outright leading scorer at the tournament with five goals -- one ahead of Alexandra Popp, who has already been eliminated with Germany.

Nonetheless, once again, another victory for Japan was achieved with contributions from all around.

Back starting together in the engine room for the first time since their opening 5-0 win over Zambia, England-based Yui Hasegawa and Fuka Nagano were the main factor behind Japan being able to dominate possession.

Wing-backs Shimizu and Jun Endo were as effective going forward as they were on the back foot, while the central defence -- led by captain Saki Kumagai -- held up admirably against their physically-superior Norwegians.

As always, Mina Tanaka -- and then her replacement Riko Ueki -- toiled tirelessly up front both in holding up play, as well as leading the press when Japan looked to win the ball back.

In case goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashiwa was feeling left out given she has not had that much to do considering Japan's dominant displays thus far, she gave a reminder of the crucial role she could yet play -- producing a world-class save right at the end to keep out a Karina Saevik header that looked destined for the top corner.

In the end, it was a performance brimming with style and poise that led Japan on to the quarterfinals of the tournament.

Befitting their ever-growing status as one of the favourites to go all the way and win the Women's World Cup.