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Women’s World Cup: Shock result as New Zealand beats Norway in opening game

by editor

A 48th-minute strike from Hannah Wilkinson sent the Auckland crowd into raptures, as the Football Ferns secured their first-ever World Cup victory.

New Zealand got off to a flying start on day one of the FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Norway in Auckland’s Eden Park.

A 48th-minute-goal from Hannah Wilkinson was enough to secure the three points and send the crowd into raptures, in what was the first-ever World Cup win for the Football Ferns.

New Zealand’s Ria Percival missed the chance to double her side’s lead late on when she saw her 88th-minute effort from the penalty spot bounce off the woodwork.

Hege Riise’s Norwegian had been wanting to bounce back from a bitterly disappointing European Championship in 2022 when they were beaten 8-0 by tournament winners England in the group stage.

Norway was the first European side to get their hands on the Women’s 1995 World Cup in Sweden – the second edition of the competition – after beating Germany 2-0 in the Råsunda Stadium. 

Preview: Australia v Republic of Ireland

Co-hosts Australia will face off against the Republic of Ireland at Sydney’s Stadium Australia on Thursday afternoon.

Australia, who have emerged as one of the tournament favourites, are hoping to get their World Cup campaign off to a strong start in front of what is expected to be a record-breaking crowd of around 83,000.

But the Matildas were dealt a blow when star skipper Sam Kerr was ruled out of the tie against the Republic of Ireland with a calf injury just an hour before kick-off.

Her teammates had been hoping to rely on her sharp eye for goal with Canada and Nigeria making up the ‘group of death’.

Ireland, on the other hand, will be hoping to make a positive start to what is the country’s first Women’s World Cup fixture.

Despite the lack of big-stage experience, Vera Pauw’s side will take confidence from experienced midfielder Denise O’Sullivan being declared fit for action after suffering a knock in a friendly tie against Colombia last week.

The quadrennial tournament will run until 11 August, featuring 32 nations for the first time, having been expanded from 24 teams. A total of 64 matches will take place throughout the month at ten different venues across nine cities.

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