New Zealand, co-hosts of the World Cup, has the chance to take another big step forward on Tuesday.
Days after winning their first World Cup in the team’s history, New Zealand know their victory over the Philippines in Wellington will effectively ensure that the Football Ferns, as the team is known, make it to the knockout stages for the first time.
In Tuesday’s other matches, Colombia and South Korea will become the last of the 32 teams to take to the field, and Norway – who New Zealand beat in their opening match – will try to right themselves against Switzerland.
Colombia vs South Korea
Colombia puts in a strong performance in the Copa América, beating Argentina in the semi-finals and losing to Brazil in the final, 1-0. These results indicate a readiness to compete on the global stage.
But that competitiveness may have gone too far in one final exhibition against Ireland: that match It was canceled after 20 minutes to what the Irish called an “excessively physical” play from the Colombians. Columbia rejected this characterization and defended its style. He said that the Irish simply “preferred not to play”.
Colombia will meet South Korea, runner-up to China, in the 2022 Asian Cup on Tuesday in Sydney, Australia (10 p.m. EST Monday). The South Koreans have reached the knockout stages once in their previous three World Cup matches, in 2015. Four years ago, the Koreans lost all three of their matches.
New Zealand vs the Philippines
New Zealand players shocked many people – themselves included – by upsetting Norway 1-0 in the opening match of the World Cup.
Now, the Ferns find themselves in new territory: well positioned for a path beyond the group stage, a checkpoint not reached in their five previous trips to the tournament.
The biggest obstacle to progress, in fact, may be behind them. Norway entered the tournament 12th in the FIFA rankings, while the Philippines are 46th. New Zealand are 26th, but are now riding a wave of so-called fern fever, looking forward to another night in front of a friendly crowd.
The Philippines lost 2-0 to Switzerland in their first World Cup appearance. Her team draws heavily from the United States — 18 players on the squad’s 23-woman roster are, in fact, American-born — and they make no excuses about it.
“I don’t really care where they are born,” said Australian team coach Allen Stajic. “If they have the Philippines in their hearts and in their blood, and are good at football, then they will be eligible for our team.
“They all play for their flag, they all play for their country, they all play for the people of the Philippines, wherever they are.”
Switzerland versus Norway
Norway is looking to recover from its opening loss and will probably need a win against Switzerland, and then another win against the Philippines, to ensure they reach the knockout stages.
Norway’s national team is led by Ada Hegerberg, the 28-year-old striker – and former World Player of the Year – who came to the 2019 World Cup to protest her association’s treatment of women’s football. Hegerberg, one of the best players in the game, was absent from the national team for five years before returning for the European Championships last summer. But it was surprisingly ineffective against New Zealand, and that wouldn’t work against the Swiss.
Switzerland dominated the Philippines in their opening match, outscoring their opponents by a score of 17-3. It is unlikely that they would have the same advantage over the Norwegians. Ramona Bachmann, who plays for her club Paris Saint-Germain, was a key player in her first team’s victory. You will need a similar performance today to keep Switzerland going.