New Zealand 1-0 Norway: Wilkinson Nets Winner in Women World Cup Opener
Co-hosts New Zealand began the Women’s World Cup with an almighty shock as they beat Norway 1-0 to record the country’s first win at a finals.
Neither the New Zealand men’s nor the women’s team had claimed a World Cup finals victory before, but Hannah Wilkinson finished off a superb team goal three minutes after half-time to seal a historic victory.
Norway, the 1995 World Cup winners, were poor on the ball with Arsenal midfielder Frida Maanum guilty of missing two big chances in either half. Late on, Tuvan Hansen was denied a late equaliser by New Zealand goalkeeper Victoria Esson, who tipped a long-range effort onto the crossbar.
New Zealand had a great chance to seal the victory when they were awarded a late penalty by VAR – with referee Yoshimi Yamashita addressing the 42,000-strong crowd via the loudspeaker about the decision under new regulations being trialled by FIFA. Ferns midfielder Ria Percival, however, struck the bar with the spot-kick
But the evening still belonged to New Zealand who, in front of a record crowd for a women’s football match in their country, held firm despite 10 minutes of stoppage time to get the Women’s World Cup up and running in style.