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New Zealand’s Unfortunate Record: Host Nation Knocked Out in Women’s World Cup Group Stage

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The Women’s World Cup brought both jubilation and heartbreak as New Zealand, the host nation, suffered a bitter blow, becoming the first-ever host country to be knocked out in the group stage. The unfortunate outcome unfolded after their goalless draw against Switzerland on Sunday, leaving their World Cup dreams shattered.

In Group A, New Zealand desperately needed a victory against Switzerland to secure a spot in the last 16, but despite the passionate support of the home crowd at Dunedin Stadium, they struggled to find the breakthrough they needed. The match turned into a cagey affair, and the Football Ferns failed to create significant goal-scoring opportunities.

With Norway putting on a dominant display and crushing the Philippines 6-0 in the other Group A fixture, New Zealand’s fate hinged on securing a win against Switzerland. However, it was not to be, as Switzerland emerged as group winners, and Norway clinched the runner-up position based on goal difference.

The Women’s World Cup had started on a high note for New Zealand when they produced a stunning upset by defeating Norway 1-0 in the opening game, marking their first-ever World Cup victory. The initial jubilation, however, waned in the following matches, leading to their early exit from the tournament.

In their next fixture, the Football Ferns suffered a surprising 1-0 loss against the Philippines, exposing the unpredictability of the beautiful game. The pressure mounted in their crucial match against Switzerland, but they struggled to assert their authority and create scoring opportunities.

Despite throwing everything at their opponents in the closing stages, New Zealand only managed two shots on target during the decisive match. In a desperate attempt to secure a victory, goalkeeper Victoria Esson joined the attack during corner kicks and free-kicks, even getting her head on a cross, but the ball failed to find the back of the net.

After the match, New Zealand’s players gathered on the pitch, and captain Ali Riley delivered an emotional speech to her tearful teammates, reflecting the immense disappointment of their early exit.

On the other hand, Norway celebrated their triumphant recovery from the opening game defeat, showcasing their potential to make a deep run in the tournament. Their 6-0 victory against the Philippines displayed their attacking prowess, with Sophie Román Haug scoring the second hattrick of the competition. Caroline Graham Hansen, Guro Reiten, and an unfortunate Alicia Barker own-goal contributed to the comprehensive victory.

While the Women’s World Cup journey may have ended for the Philippines, they showcased their determination and spirit throughout the competition, earning their first World Cup win against New Zealand and leaving a lasting impression on football enthusiasts worldwide.

The Filipino supporters’ unwavering passion and support were evident as they passionately chanted ‘Filipinas’ throughout the match against Norway, creating a home-like atmosphere for the debutant team. The Philippine players acknowledged the significance of this journey, cherishing the experience and vowing to continue their improvement in the world of women’s football.

As the Women’s World Cup journey continues with thrilling encounters and memorable moments, the tournament has already displayed the captivating and unpredictable nature of the beautiful game, showcasing the true essence of football on the world stage.

 

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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