Dream still alive for Football Ferns despite nightmare in Wellington

Malia Steinmetz of New Zealand after losing to the Philippines. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It wasn’t the result New Zealand fans were wanting but the dream stays alive for the Football Ferns at the World Cup.

The co-hosts came crashing back down to earth with a 1-nil loss to the Philippines in Wellington on Tuesday night.

The two extremes of emotions for everyone watching, but Football Ferns coach Jitka Klimkova was philosophical afterwards.

“This is sports, five days ago we were celebrating and we were so excited, today we didn’t get what we wanted and played for.”

New Zealand had twice as much possession, three times as many passes completed and five shots on goal compared with the Philippines’ two.

But the Philippines managed to convert one of those chances.

New Zealand had a goal overturned by the video assistant referee and also hit the post.

Ferns midfielder Katie Bowen admits it was just one of those games that didn’t go their way.

“We put in a great performance against Norway where I think everything was going right for us and clicked and tonight it just wasn’t quite there.

“Obviously different opposition, but we just lacked patience and it hurts to not to get even a point here.”

Player of the game was Philippines goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel who admits it was a tense wait for the video assistant referee to decide on New Zealand’s goal.

CJ Bott of New Zealand


“I think we all collectively held our breath for a minute or two.

“For it to get called back and knowing that we had to keep going forward and calm down and settle back into the game and make sure it didn’t happen again.”

While the Ferns didn’t give up and forced McDaniel into another fine save in added time, it was a heartbreaking loss according to coach Klimkova.

“I could see tears on our players, so it is heartbreaking, but this is not over yet, we still have one game to go.”

With Switzerland and Norway drawing 0-0 all in their game it leaves all four teams in Group A with a chance of making the knockout phase.

Switzerland has four points, New Zealand and Philippines three and Norway one.

The Football Ferns can seal their place in the round of 16 by beating Switzerland in their final group game.

Ferns midfielder Katie Bowen says they’re still alive in this tournament and that’s what counts.

“It’s still in our hands, we’re not down and out.

“We’re still confident, it’s still well within our reach to get out of our group and that’s been our goal from the get go.”

In the final group games New Zealand play the Swiss in Dunedin on Sunday night and the Philippines play Norway in Auckland.

A draw against Switzerland for the Football Ferns could possibly be enough for them to advance, if other results go their way.