Women's Football World Cup: Philippines Shock New Zealand, Colombia Down South Korea - Eastern Mirror
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Women’s Football World Cup: Philippines shock New Zealand, Colombia down South Korea

By IANS Updated: Jul 26, 2023 12:05 am
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Colombia’s Catalina Usme celebrates after scoring the opening goal on a penalty kick during the Women’s World Cup Group H soccer match between Colombia and South Korea at the Sydney Football Stadium in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, July 25, 2023. AP/PTI

SYDNEY— Debutants the Philippines stunned co-hosts New Zealand 1-0 to secure their first FIFA Women’s World Cup victory, while Colombia defeated South Korea 2-0 on Tuesday.

In the late fixture, Norway and Switzerland played out a goalless draw in Hamilton in Group A, reports Xinhua.

After losing star forward Ada Hegerberg to injury before kickoff, Norway struggled to penetrate and face a fight to reach the round of 16. With just one point from two games, Norway must win their final group game against an increasingly confident Philippines, who shook up Group A with their momentous victory over New Zealand.

Sarina Bolden scored the Philippines’ historic match-winner in the 24th minute to silence the 33,000 fans in Wellington.

“I’ve got everyone else’s tears all over my eyes, it’s so emotional,” the Philippines coach Alen Stajcic said.

“You saw how long New Zealand had to wait for its first win — six World Cups — and (for the Philippines) to get it today was incredible.”

New Zealand entered as favourites after a historic victory over Norway in their opener but were left stunned.

Ranked 20 places higher than their opponents, New Zealand had waves of attack in the second half and a goal disallowed, but were unable to find an equalizer.

“It was heartbreaking, I could see tears in my players’ eyes,” said New Zealand coach Jitka Klimkova. “But it’s not over yet. We still have one game to go. We still have time to reset and refocus before the game against Switzerland.”

Earlier, teenager Linda Caicedo scored on her World Cup debut as Colombia earned a pivotal win over South Korea in Sydney.

In sunny conditions, the 18-year-old phenom Caicedo lived up to the hype when she bagged Colombia’s second goal late in the first half.

After breaking down the left, Caicedo cut back inside and fired outside the box, as goalkeeper Yoon Young-geul botched a save above her head and the ball fell over the line.

It was an especially heartwarming moment for Caicedo, who had survived ovarian cancer at the age of 15.

Becoming the first teenager to score at this year’s tournament, Caicedo doubled Colombia’s lead after Catalina Usme had converted a penalty in the 30th minute.

“She has been growing extraordinarily and has a very mature level,” Colombia assistant coach Angelo Marsiglia said of Caicedo. “She did what she had to do and made a difference. She wants the ball, never hides, she’s from another planet, entirely unique.”

South Korea were outplayed for most of the match, unable to penetrate a dogged Colombia defense.

Struggling to muster goal-scoring opportunities, South Korea coach Colin Bell inserted 16-year-old attacker Casey Phair in the 78th minute, making her the youngest player at a men’s or women’s World Cup.

“She deserved to get the chance to play, she has trained really well, as good as anyone,” Bell said of Phair. “It is also a signal that that’s the future, she is the future.”

Colombia joined world No.2 Germany with three points in Group H.

Title contenders Spain will be looking to continue their perfect start against Zambia in a slate of three matches on Wednesday.

By IANS Updated: Jul 26, 2023 12:05:24 am
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