Norway will enter the third installment of its FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 group stage matches against the Philippines with a draw against Switzerland. This is crucial for the Philippines as they have won the previous match against the co-hosts but are still rallying at the third rank due to a goal difference of -1. New Zealand is hanging out in the second position with a GD of zero, courtesy of their victory over Norway by a margin of a single goal.
Wellington Regional Stadium, for a while, assumed that the Philippines would be able to balance the difference. Another theory that was bounced up in the air was that New Zealand would land a one-each-goal draw. They even came close in the 70th minute, but the VAR review delivered a disappointing verdict. NZs lost the chance of equalizing the scoreboard. Thereby losing the chance of maintaining a decent track in the group stage.
It was Hand’s attempt that went in vain after the review. Odds on football betting sites were quick to reflect the miss.
The Philippines scored the winning edge through Sarina Bolden in the 24th minute. She is now ranked 5th on the list of top scorers. Hannah Wilkinson is the only player from New Zealand to feature on the list at the same spot.
A couple of records have been set straight in New Zealand versus the Philippines during the group stage of FIFA World Cup 2023:
This is the third time that the host of the tournament has lost a group game. The first such loss was recorded in 1995 by Sweden and in 2007 by China PR, with both teams losing to Brazil. This is the first time that an AFC team – the Philippines – has kept a clean sheet in their first qualification to the tournament.
New Zealand will next face Switzerland, the team to currently lead Group A with 1/2 wins and a GD of 2. Their last event against Norway was drawn. Hence the point stands at 3+1.
New Zealand had better chances of winning the match, considering the way they were handling the possession at 63%. Their 16 shots kept Davies-McDaniel busier than usual. She was joined by the defensive line-up of Beard, Cowart, and Long. Esson, on the other hand, had a relaxing day except for the time when the goal was actually scored. Hand and Wilkinson, the latter having a yellow card to her name, continued leading the strike.
Norway met New Zealand in the opener with a line-up of 4-3-3. NZ were 4-4-2, something that they maintained against the Philippines. It remains to be seen if they continue with the same crafted team formation or come up with something innovative. Klimkova has a lot to introspect about since the prospects of advancing to the Round of 16, depending on how they face the current leader of Group A. Switzerland, are definitely high on spirits. It is the co-host who is desperate for the win with a big margin for a safety net.