Journalism in the service of society

Co-hosts New Zealand, Australia open Women’s World Cup with wins

FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosts New Zealand and Australia both got off to successful starts with victories in their opening games today.

New Zealand stunned former champions Norway 1-0 in Auckland, the same scoreline with which Australia’s Matildas edged past newcomers Republic of Ireland in Sydney.

The New Zealand victory was a shock as it was their first-ever win on the global stage, while Australia were expected to beat Ireland with an evene bigger margin.

On a memorable night in Auckland, the Football Ferns of New Zealand secured the huge victory as Hannah Wilkinson converted from Jacqui Hand’s cross three minutes into the second half in front of a cheering crowd of 42,137 at Eden Park, which is a record for a football match in New Zealand.

Ria Percival missed a chance to increase the advantage by failing to score an 89th-minute missed penalty, but the celebrations did not stop, although there had been a minute’s silence before kick-off for the victims of a deadly shooting in Auckland earlier in the day.

It was New Zealand’s first World Cup victory after they had failed to win any of their previous 15 games in past editions of the tournament.

In Sydney, Steph Catley’s second-half penalty gave Australia victory over a battling Republic of Ireland in Nigeria’s Group B.

Catley, standing in as captain after star striker and captain Sam Kerr suffered a calf injury on the eve of the game, converted the winner in the 52nd minute.

The Republic of Ireland frustrated the co-hosts in the first half but the debutants caved in when Marissa Sheva pushed Hayley Raso and Brazilian referee Edina Alves pointed to the penalty spot.

Chelsea star Kerr, who will also miss Australia’s second game against the Super Falcons, celebrated on the bench with her team-mates as they shot to the top of the group ahead of tomorrow morning’s meeting between Nigeria and Canada.

Comments are closed.

Naija Times