Photo Credit: Katelyn Mulcahy FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
New Zealand suffered defeat in their second Group A match at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Wellington, going down 1-0 to the Philippines on a difficult night for the Football Ferns.
Sarina Bolden scored the only goal of the night, heading past Victoria Esson from close range following a cross from Sara Eggesvik after the Kiwis had failed to clear their defensive lines.
New Zealand had started the stronger of the two sides but struggled to create clear-cut chances for all the possession that they enjoyed. Malia Steinmetz and Ria Percival enjoyed time and space in the middle of the park as the Philippines sat deep to frustrate the hosts.
Despite their territorial dominance, it was the 53rd ranked side that took the lead – Bolden’s header making history as the first ever goal scored by the Philippines in either a women’s or men’s World Cup. Esson got a hand to the ball but was unable to keep it from crossing the line.
Jitka Klimkova made two changes at half-time in an attempt to energise her side, Olivia Chance and Annalie Longo coming on for Indiah-Paige Riley and Betsy Hassett.
Hannah Wilkinson came close to equalising with a header from a deep cross from CJ Bott, the ball clearing the crossbar by inches. Jacqui Hand went even closer minutes later when her first-time effort struck the base of the post following a great through ball by Olivia Chance.
The Football Ferns did have the ball in the net in the 75th minute through a Hand header following industrious play from Wilkinson but a VAR check revealed the Kiwi no.17 to have been inches ahead of her marker when the ball was played through.
As the seconds ticked down, Grace Jale came within a whisker of clinching a crucial equaliser with a well-placed side-footed volley, only to be denied by an outstanding fingertip save from Philippines ‘keeper Olivia McDaniel.
With Switzerland and Norway drawing 0-0 in the other Group A fixture, New Zealand will head into their final match against the Swiss knowing a win is likely needed to advance to the knockout stages.
New Zealand: 0
Philippines: 1 (Sarina Bolden 24′)
Colombia began their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign with a convincing victory over South Korea in Sydney.
Catalina Usme gave the South Americans the lead on the half-hour mark from the penalty spot before Linda Caicedo added a second minutes later with a shot from distance that was spilt into the net by Korea goalkeeper Yoon Younggeul.
More World Cup history was made when Casey Phair came on for South Korea, becoming both the youngest ever player at a FIFA Women’s World Cup and the first-ever South Korean player of mixed-race.
Colombia: 2 (Cataline USME 30′, Linda Caicedo 39′)
South Korea: 0
Switzerland and Norway played out a tense 0-0 draw at Waikato Stadium. in the evening’s second Group A match.
The main headline of the night came before the opening whistle sounded, when Norway’s star striker Ada Hegerberg walked off seconds before kick off, suffering an injury in the warm up.
In her absence, Norway struggled to break down the Swiss defence, despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession in wet and soggy conditions in Hamilton. With just one point from their opening two games, the group favourites now know a win is a must when they face off against the Philippines on Sunday evening.
As for Switzerland, a point will be sufficient in their final match against New Zealand to advance to the Round of 16.