The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup started with a bang when co-hosts New Zealand beat Norway in a shocking game. It was their first win ever on the world stage. The fantastic match occurred in Auckland, where the Football Ferns pulled off a stunning upset. Hannah Wilkinson scored the game-winning goal, which sent the crowd of 42,137 at Eden Park into a frenzy. This was a record number of people to watch a football game in New Zealand.
Before the game, there was a moment of silence to remember the people who died in a tragic shooting in Auckland earlier that day. This showed how important it was for the event to start. New Zealand’s loyal fans were excitedly waiting for their team’s long-awaited moment at Eden Park. Since New Zealand and Australia were named co-hosts, they had been waiting for this moment for a long time. Wilkinson scored in the 48th minute, which made everyone in the stands very happy.
New Zealand stun Norway in dramatic FIFA Women’s World Cup opener
After Wilkinson’s goal, Norway, which won the World Cup in 1995, tried to tie the game, but Arsenal’s Frida Maanum missed a great chance by poking the ball wide. During the game, New Zealand showed incredible toughness and a fierce desire to win, going toe-to-toe with their opponents. Norway had 12 shots on goal, including a close shot by Tuva Hansen that hit the crossbar and a late shot by Guro Reiten that missed the goal.
Aurora Mikalsen, the goalie for New Zealand, made an essential diving save to stop Ali Riley from making it 2-0. During the national anthems, players Ria Percival and Ali Riley, playing in their fifth World Cup, had to fight back tears. This showed their pride in defending their country on such a big stage.
On the other hand, Norway didn’t do as well as expected, and they now have to beat Switzerland in Hamilton to avoid another early exit from the event. Even though Norway had a lot of talented players, they couldn’t get going during the match. Manager Hege Riise stressed that the team’s poor performance could not be blamed on what had happened in Auckland before.
The win was a big deal for New Zealand; fans and players could feel how happy they were. The tournament’s first game showed how popular women’s football is worldwide. FIFA predicts that two billion people around the world will watch the competition.
New Zealand’s win in front of a cheering home crowd set the stage for what looks like an exciting and memorable Women’s World Cup. As the trip goes on, fans are excited to see more exciting games, surprising turns, and new football heroes on the biggest stage for women’s football.