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FIFAWWC: Co-hosts evacuated over fire scare, Sweden edge South Africa

THE drama at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup continued today as co-hosts New Zealand were moved from their hotel over an arson scare hours before Sweden defeated African champions South Africa 1-0.

The New Zealand team got evacuated after a fire broke out at their hotel in Auckland in the early hours of today in what was the second security incident since the start of the tournament on Thursday.

The team was evacuated briefly after several small fires broke out at their hotel in Auckland, according to local media.

All team members are accounted for and safe, authorities said.

Police charged a 34-year-old man with burglary and arson, the Associated Press reported.

New Zealand and Australia are co-hosting the ninth edition of the Women’s World Cup. Today’s fire was the second security incident in the three days since the World Cup tournament began.

A rare shooting in Auckland hours before Thursday’s official opening of the competition at a construction site in Auckland had raised concerns among officials and the public.

But there was no indication the shooting was linked to the game.

As the action proper continued on the pitch, Sweden needed a last-gasp goal to defeat South Africa in Wellington, New Zealand.

Amanda Ilestedt scored the 90th minute winner as the Swedes completed the turnaround after going behind.

The 2022 Africa Cup of Nations champions came close to earning their first point at a World Cup, having lost all three matches on their only previous appearance in 2019.

Banyana Banyana opened the scoring with a 48th-minute goal from Hildah Magaia, but it was cancelled out by a deflected Frida Rolfo effort before Ilestedt’s decisive header.

Sweden went to the top of Group G with the result, with Argentina and Italy to meet tomorrow.

South Africa took the lead just three minutes after the break, with Thembi Kgatlana’s deflected shot falling into the path of Magaia, who ran the ball into the net for their second-ever World Cup goal.

The lead lasted for 17 minutes when Rolfo’s touch from Johanna Kaneryd’s cross was deflected by Lebohang Ramalepe into her own goal.

South African hearts were broken late on when Kosovare Asllani’s corner was met by Ilestedt with a strong header.

5Sweden and South Africa were meeting for the fifth time and for the first time at the Women’s World Cup. Sweden are unbeaten in all the encounters, winning four of them.

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