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New Zealand stun women’s World Cup opener to make history with thrilling win

The World Cup has always reserved unforgettable moments for us, games that only the World Cup has been able to provide for football lovers. And the official debut of the most important competition in the sport was no different, making history in the first match. New Zealand’s surprising victory at home opened the tournament early this Thursday (20), but it also experienced an extremely dangerous situation before the ball rolled, where a shootout ended up taking the lives of three people. The hosts’ triumph against Norway marked the first triumph in the women’s world cup.

new zealand and norway
New Zealand and Norwegian players during the match (Photo: reproduction/gettyimages)

First half with few chances

In front of a historic audience of 42,000 people at Eden Park, in the city of Auckland, the Women’s World Cup kicked off with a very favoritism match for Norway, but the view on the field was completely the opposite. Despite playing in the World Cup for the fifth time, New Zealand arrived moved by the support of their fans and did not feel the pressure when facing a selection that had already won the competition. Led by the main name within their squad, the hosts sought in Wilkinson the way to reach the attack, while the Europeans had great difficulty in imposing a dominant style of play, even though they were superior on paper.


Wilkinson scored the first goal of the World Cup (Photo: reproduction/gettyimages)

check out the lineups for the game

Second Time to go down in history

Even led by a Ballon d’Or winner, it was New Zealand that continued to show efficiency in its defensive system, taking chances offensively and being pushed by the local fans. It only took two minutes for the first goal of the World Cup to come out, surprising those who expected a calm confrontation. Goalkeeper Bowen started the move with a goal kick, the move built up and ended in Hand’s cross, which found Wilkinson in the middle of two markers, the attacker pushed for the European nets.

The script very different from the expected remained clear even with the first goal of the hosts, something that would launch the opponents to the attack in search of the draw. The result was again the opposite and the advantage almost became greater, when Indiah-Paige Riley finished firmly near the area in the 16th minute, forcing a beautiful save by Mikalsen. Until then, Norway’s difficulty remained the same as in the first half, but they managed to react as the final stage passed, even hitting the post with Ada Hegerberg.

The visiting pressure became much more acute after squandering their biggest opportunity of the game and New Zealand looked to exploit spaces in the opponent’s defense, which already launched the attack with some frequency. Even with the favorable result, the home team missed the chance to kill the scoreboard, but Percival hit the crossbar in his penalty kick, marked after review by VAR in stoppage time.

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The best moments of the match. (Video: Playback/Youtube)

The historic triumph of the host team led by Wilkinson ended the fast of never having won during World Cups, despite having played in five World Cups and mainly for facing a champion right away. The victory opens up the possibility for the players to achieve a historic classification towards the final stage, remembering that by defeating the favorites in the group, New Zealand shoots in the lead, while awaiting the result of the match between the Philippines and Switzerland, which takes place in the early hours of this Friday (21). The next match for the New Zealanders is against the Philippines on the following Tuesday (25), at 2:30 am in the official time of Brasilia.

Feature Photo: New Zealand players celebrating victory. Reproduction/Gettyimages


New Zealand stun women’s World Cup opener to make history with thrilling win

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