As Switzerland received the draw they needed to proceed as Group A winners, tournament co-hosts New Zealand were eliminated. New Zealand started the day in second place in the group, but Norway passed them after defeating the Philippines 6-0. New Zealand’s Jacqueline Hand struck the goalpost, but they could not secure the victory they required to continue competing.
They are the first host country to lose after the group stage. New Zealand, who had defeated Norway 1-0 in the tournament’s opening game, had a lackluster and poor tournament ending.
New Zealand’s chances of qualifying were in jeopardy after a shocking 1-0 loss on Tuesday in Wellington to the Philippines, the lowest-ranked team in Group A, but they still had time to turn things around before their last game in Dunedin.
However, they failed to put a single shot on target in the first 70 minutes against Switzerland in a game they needed to win. It got tight and stressful as neither team could produce many clear-cut opportunities, with the Europeans themselves only one goal from being eliminated.
Several New Zealand players were in tears at the final whistle since their side had been eliminated due to goal differential. The nation made their sixth participation at a Women’s World Cup, but before Hannah Wilkinson’s lone goal in their 2023 opener against Norway in front of 42,137 spectators, they had lost all 15 of their prior games.
However, the defeat to the Philippines, a team 20 places lower rated than them, turned out to be significant. In their matchup with Switzerland, 26th-ranked New Zealand failed to provide anything for their fans to shout about as it took until the 74th minute for the hosts to earn their first chance on goal, a feeble attempt from Malia Steinmetz that went straight at Swiss goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann.
Before eight minutes of added time, Claudia Bunge of the Football Ferns put a weak header on goal. Goalkeeper Victoria Esson of New Zealand went up for a corner and two free kicks, putting her head on one of the free kicks but misfiring with her shot.
But the hosts could not score, as Switzerland held on to go to the round of 16 for a second time after doing so in 2015. On Saturday, August 5, the first of the knockout games will take place, and they will face the Group C runners-up, the losers of Monday’s contest between Spain and Japan.
Jitka Klimkova, the coach of New Zealand, said on her team’s elimination: “It’s emotional because everyone is upset in the outcome, but this squad can be so proud. “We are learning a lot of good things from the overall process.
“I feel like the whole country is behind us, and I’m grateful for that because they’re on this journey with us.” Ali Riley, the other co-captain of New Zealand, continued, “I can’t ask any more of the players. There are many tears, yet they should be extremely proud since we battled valiantly.
“There is a great disappointment, but I want everyone to be proud of our accomplishments. “I believe that we have motivated the nation. I’m hoping that young girls throughout New Zealand and the world will start practicing sports and develop the belief that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.
“I’m hoping that this gives young ladies a lot of chances and doors to open. Our goal was to uplift and honor the Ferns who came before us, and this team succeeded. I’m pleased with these. Source