Hosts New Zealand, buoyed by their first-ever World Cup victory over 1995 champions Norway in their opening match of the Women’s World Cup, have fallen short against the Philippines in their opening group game at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand 2023.
The Kiwis fell 0-1 to FIFA No. 46 Philippines, who are making their first-ever appearance at the tournament, in their second Group A match at Regional Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, on Friday.
New Zealand, ranked 26th in the FIFA rankings, recorded their first World Cup victory over Norway in their opening match on 20 June but were stunned by the Philippines, who were considered a step below them.
The Philippines were beaten 2-0 by 20th-ranked Switzerland in their first game, but kept their hopes of reaching the last 16 alive with a win over the hosts in their second match.
The Philippines opened the scoring in the 24th minute when a cross from the right flank was met with a pinpoint header by Serena Bolden, who rushed into the box.
Holding on to the lead, the Philippines recorded their first win in two games and three points in the World Cup knockout stage.
New Zealand were plagued by a lack of finishing after dominating possession throughout the match.
They dominated possession 안전놀이터(15-4), shots on target (5-2), and earned seven corner kicks while conceding none to their opponents, but were unable to capitalise on their set-piece opportunities.
Most of the shots on goal hit the ground in front of the keeper, including Jackie Hand’s crunching right-footed shot from the penalty area in front of the goal on a counterattack opportunity in the 19th minute.
In the other Group A match at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand, FIFA No. 12 Norway and Switzerland played to a 0-0 draw.
Norway, ranked 12th in the FIFA rankings, saw their hopes of progressing to the round of 16 red-flagged after losing to New Zealand in their opening game and then drawing with Switzerland. Pictured is a disappointed Sophie Heu of Norway. [AP Photo]
Despite having 2018 Women’s Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg in goal, Norway, winners of the 1995 tournament in Sweden, saw their hopes of progressing to the round of 16 red-flagged when they were stunned by New Zealand in their opening match and then failed to add to their victory over Switzerland in their second game.
Norway are regulars at every Women’s World Cup from the inaugural tournament in 1991 to this one, with 2011 being the only time they have packed it in at the group stage.
They are a powerhouse of women’s football, having reached the quarter-finals four times and the last eight six times.
Eight years after reaching the round of 16 in 2015, their first World Cup appearance, Switzerland need only draw against the Philippines in their next game to fulfil their first objective.
Norway struggled to find the back of the net on the day, with all four of their shots on target saved by the goalkeeper.
In the 24th minute, a cross from the right flank was headed home by Sophie Heu in the box, only to be denied by a super save from the goalkeeper, while 10 minutes into the second half, Heu’s right-footed shot from the penalty area was thrown away by the goalkeeper.
With the rain tracking down, Switzerland, who dominated the left flank, and Norway, who tried to break down the right flank, were evenly matched in terms of ball possession, 43 per cent to 42 per cent (15 per cent contested).
However, neither country was able to find the final goal.
With one more point on the day, Switzerland remains at the top of Group A with four points.
New Zealand and the Philippines are tied for second and third place with three points, but on goal difference.
Norway, who have not added a single point in their two matches, are bottom of Group A with one point.
The final Group A matches between Norway and the Philippines and Switzerland and New Zealand will take place on 30 June.