New Zealand women’s national team made a victory in the first match after beated Norway women’s national team with a score of 1-0 in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Group stage, Group A at Eden Park, Auckland.
This was Hege Riise’s first championship game as national team manager after the Norwegian European Championship fiasco last summer. She makes no secret of the fact that her performance in the World Cup premiere was far from what the Norwegian national team expects of itself.
Left back Tuva Hansen came closest to equalizing when she hit the crossbar from long range.
Only towards the end did Norway seem to wake up somewhat, but Guro Reiten shot weakly wide when the opportunity presented itself eight minutes into overtime.
A New Zealand attack, which started with a play from the five-metre line, remarkably quickly set up attacker Jaqueline Hand on a backroom run behind Norway’s defence.
Hand ran away from Norway’s championship debutant Mathilde Harviken (21), before serving goalscorer Hannah Wilkinson. Neither did Mjelde and the other Norwegian defenders keep up in front of the goal.
And only two minutes of the second half have been played. That’s where things fall for Norway. We don’t keep up, neither on the edges nor in the middle
It is quite incredible. We react too late, and actually lose that race duel with Harviken. And we are not in the middle quickly enough either, added NRK’s expert commentator Carl-Erik Torp.
Norway opened far from ideal. That the host country should score the first goal was no surprise after all.
The first round of the World Cup started very messy for Norway, which, among other things, allowed New Zealand spearhead Wilkinson to have a free lane far into the 16-metre box early on. The former Damallsvenskan player had, fortunately for the Norwegians, a bad touch on the ball before she was allowed to enter the field.
There were mostly only defenders from Norway, but the hesitant performance of several made it still dangerous when the second wave of New Zealand players came towards goalkeeper Aurora Mikalsen’s goal.
But with the exception of a dangerous and weak box-out from New Zealand’s goalkeeper Victoria Esson in the seventh minute of play, Norway had few dangers to offer in the first half hour.
Credit Photo : Saeed Khan/AFP