World Cup co-hosts New Zealand have a chance to take another big step on Tuesday.
Days after clinching the team’s first-ever World Cup win, New Zealand knows that a win over the Philippines in Wellington will virtually ensure the team known as the Football Ferns reach the knockout stages for the first time.
In other matches on Tuesday, Colombia and South Korea finished last of the 32 teams, while Norway, after losing to New Zealand in their opening match, will try to bounce back against Switzerland.
Colombia vs South Korea
Colombia had a good run in the Copa America Championship, beating Argentina in the semi-finals but losing 1-0 to Brazil in the final. These results suggest that they are ready to fight on the world stage.
But that competitiveness may have gone too far in the recent exhibition against Ireland: that match Canceled after 20 minutes for what the Irish called the Colombian’s “overly physical” play. Columbia rejected that characterization and defended its style. The Irish simply “preferred not to continue playing”.
Colombia will face 2022 Asian Cup runners-up South Korea in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday (Monday 10pm ET). South Korea has advanced to the finals once in the past three times they have participated in the 2015 World Cup, but four years ago they lost all three games.
New Zealand vs Philippines
New Zealand players shocked many, including themselves, by beating Norway 1-0 in their World Cup opener.
Now the Ferns find themselves in new territory. We are well positioned to break through the group stage. A checkpoint that we have not reached in our five trips to the tournament so far.
In fact, the biggest obstacle to progress may be behind them. Norway entered the tournament ranked 12th in the FIFA rankings, while the Philippines ranked 46th. New Zealand, ranked 26th, are currently riding the so-called Fern Fever wave and are looking forward to another night in front of a friendly crowd.
The Philippines lost 2-0 to Switzerland in their World Cup debut. The team attracted a lot of talent from the United States, and of the team’s 23-woman roster, 18 were actually born in the United States. And I make no excuses for that.
“I don’t really care where they were born,” said the team’s Australian coach, Allen Stadzic. “If they have Filipino blood in their heart and are good at football, they are eligible for our team.
“They all play for their flag, they play for their country, they all play for the Filipino people wherever they live.”
Switzerland vs Norway
Norway are looking to bounce back from their opening loss and will need wins against Switzerland and perhaps the Philippines to secure a place in the knockout stages.
The Norwegian side is led by 28-year-old striker and former world best player Ada Hegerberg, who withdrew from the 2019 World Cup in protest at the federation’s treatment of women’s football. One of the best players in the game, Hegerberg was out of her national team for five years before returning at the European Championships last summer. But she was surprisingly ineffective against New Zealand, and that won’t work against Switzerland.
Switzerland overwhelmed the Philippines in their opening match, beating them 17-3. They are unlikely to have the same advantage over the Norwegians. Ramona Bachmann, who plays football for Paris Saint-Germain, was a standout player in her side’s opening-season win. A similar performance will be needed today if Switzerland is to move forward.