Co-hosts New Zealand made a stunning start to the Women’s World Cup by securing a surprise victory against Norway in the tournament’s opening game at Eden Park, Auckland.
Strong Performance by the Football Ferns
The New Zealand team, also known as the Football Ferns, took the lead in the 48th minute when Hannah Wilkinson perfectly timed her run to meet Jacqui Hand’s cross and score a close-range finish.
This historic win marks New Zealand’s first in either the Women’s or Men’s World Cup. On the other hand, Norway, who won the 1995 Women’s World Cup, has achieved two fourth-place finishes since then.
Late Drama and Missed Opportunities
In a nail-biting finish, Norway came close to equalizing when Caroline Graham Hansen struck the crossbar with a long-range shot. Meanwhile, New Zealand had a chance to double their lead in the 90th minute, but Ria Percival missed a penalty as her shot rebounded off the crossbar.
Australia Begins Strongly in Opening Match
In another opening match of the tournament, co-hosts Australia secured a 1-0 victory against Ireland thanks to Steph Catley’s penalty kick in the 52nd minute at Stadium Australia in Sydney.
Exciting Matches Ahead
The defending World Champions, the United States, will kick off their World Cup campaign on Friday against Vietnam in Auckland. Canada will also play later today against Nigeria in Melbourne.
Phenomenal Global Viewership
The 2019 Women’s World Cup attracted a record-breaking 1.1 billion viewers worldwide across all platforms, as reported by FIFA. The world football governing body anticipates an even larger audience of over 2 billion for this year’s tournament.