Photo Credit: Joe Allison – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
New Zealand’s 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign has come to an end after a disappointing 0-0 stalemate with Switzerland in Dunedin.
Heading into the final group stage match, a draw could have been enough to ensure the co-hosts progression to the Round of 16, but Norway’s emphatic performance against the Philippines in Auckland meant a win was all that mattered to the Football Ferns.
In front of a packed Dunedin Stadium, New Zealand started the brighter of the two sides, with Switzerland happy to absorb pressure, knowing that a draw would suffice for their World Cup journey to continue into the next round.
Annalie Longo – brought into the starting line-up by Head Coach Jitka Klimková – went closest in the early stages but her volley squirmed wide of Gaelle Thalmann’s goal.
With Norway running into an early 2-0 lead, there was even more emphasis on the Kiwis to be on the front foot, with a draw no longer enough.
24 minutes in and the crucial goal came agonisingly close to fruition. Jacqui Hand ran onto a long ball from deep and hooked an outstanding left-footed effort over her shoulder and past Thalmann, only to see the ball come back off the far post.
The Swiss gradually grew into the half but it wasn’t until the final minutes of the half that they mustered an effort at goal, with Seraina Piubel’s strike from distance well held by Vic Esson.
The second half struggled to come to life with Switzerland content with the point and New Zealand finding it difficult to create much in the way of chances.
A number of substitutions did help inject some life into the match but for all the energy on display for the hosts, Thalmann remained largely untested in net.
With a little over 15 minutes remaining, Malia Steinmetz struck a well hit effort, only to see if find the hands of Thalmann – the keeper comfortably keeping hold of the ball.
It wasn’t to be for New Zealand, despite some late corners and free-kicks – Esson joining her team mates in the box to no effect – and the co-hosts bow out of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the group stage.
New Zealand: 0
Norway joined Switzerland in the Round of 16 as they swept aside the Philippines 6-0 in Auckland with an impressive performance.
Knowing a victory was needed to give themselves a chance of progressing, Norway came flying out the blocks and raced into a 2-0 lead after only 17 minutes. Sophie Roman Haug scoring both to set her side on their way.
Caroline Graham Hansen added a third before half-time, a lead that never looked like being threatened by the Philippines.
An Alicia Barker own goal brought the fourth before Guro Reiten scored the fifth from the penalty spot. Roman Haug completed her hat-trick in the final minutes of stoppage time to complete a 6-0 victory and send Norway through to the knockout stages.
Norway: 6 (Sophie ROMAN HAUG 6′, 17′, 90+5′, Caroline GRAHAM HANSEN 31′, Own Goal 48′, Guro REITEN PEN 53′)
Morocco scored their first ever goal and earned their maiden victory in a FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 1-0 win over South Korea in Adelaide.
Having been thoroughly outclassed by Germany in their opening match, the Moroccans needed a positive response and got it after just 6 minutes against the Koreans, when Ibtissam Jraidi glanced her header into the far corner following an excellent cross by Hanane Ait El Haj.
South Korea had also lost their opening match and despite controlling much of the play, especially in the second stanza, struggled to create chances thanks to a strong defensive display from the Africans.
Morocco have now given themselves a chance of advancing to the Round of 16 when they finish their group stage assignment against Colombia, whilst Korea’s future will hinge on the second Group H tie later in the evening.
South Korea: 0
Morocco: 1 (Ibtissam JRAIDI 6′)
Colombia all-but-clinched their place in the Round of 16 at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ with a dramatic late win over Germany in Sydney.
With both sides looking to build on wins in their opening matches, the first half provided a tense and tight affair with few chances to speak of as the midfield dominated.
It took seven second-half minutes to find the opening goal, when youngster Linda Caicedo showed outrageous footwork in the box before curling her effort into the far corner for one of the goals of the tournament so far.
Germany pushed for an equaliser and were given the perfect opportunity to draw level in the dying minutes when Colombia goalkeeper Catalina Perez upended Lena Oberdorf in the penalty area and Alexandra Popp calmly converted.
The drama wasn’t finished there as in the final seconds of added on time, Manuela Vanegas rose to meet a corner with a bullet header into the corner that left ‘keeper Merle Frohms with no chance.
Germany now face a crunch tie with South Korea, where a win will confirm their progression to the knockout stages.
Germany: 1 (Alexandra POPP PEN 89′)
Colombia: 2 (Linda CAICEDO 52′, Manuela VANEGAS 90+7′)