Photo Credit: Hannah Peters – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images (New Zealand Head Coach Jitka Klimkova)
The Football Ferns will look to build on their historic opening day victory when they meet the Philippines in Wellington on Tuesday evening at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™.
Hannah Wilkinson’s 48th minute strike gave New Zealand a 1-0 win over Norway at Eden Park last Thursday in what was the country’s first ever victory in a World Cup finals match and has put them in a strong position to advance from what should prove to be a tightly contested Group A.
Taking three points from their match in the nation’s capital this evening will all but secure their passage to the Round of 16, with the result of Norway v Switzerland later in the day either confirming such, or ensuring a nervy final group match in Dunedin later in the week.
Head Coach Jitka Klimkova was in positive mood ahead of the match against the 53rd ranked Philippines.
“After our first performance, we were very satisfied with how we played against Norway. We are building on it, we want to raise our performance, we went to grow in this tournament, so we’ve studied Philippines, even prior to the tournament and during their game against Switzerland, so we understand how they play,” she told media at the pre-match media conference in Wellington.
“We’ve discussed how we’re going to approach the next game. We were celebrating the moment, we made history, we enjoyed it. It was a great evening and great the next day when were still smiling and felt that victory but the next day was a re-shift and a re-focus and that’s where we are right now,” she continued.
Malia Steinmetz, one of the standout performers from the opening day victory, also looked ahead to a crucial encounter in Wellington, as a first ever knockout stage appearance at a FIFA World Cup moves onto the horizon.
“Obviously they’re going to be a really tough side. A few of us know some of their players, some of their key players, so we’re up for the fight on our home pitch,” she said.
Steinmetz also highlighted the importance of another home crowd to play in front of in the nation’s capital.
“It (playing at home) was quite calming, which I know sounds interesting but having that home advantage is definitely a real advantage. It felt like all my friends and family were in the stands, I think they actually were, so just to have that was insane! I think we’ve really utilised that, collectively as a team.”
With an expected sellout at Wellington Stadium, another raucous crowd will be on hand to provide an exciting backdrop for the co-hosts in what could prove to be another famous night in Kiwi footballing history.
New Zealand v Philippines
5:30pm kick-off (local time)
Wellington Regional Stadium, New Zealand