Ferns to play Norway and Wales in June’s international window

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New Zealand’s Football Ferns will play Norway and Wales in late June, giving coach Jitka Klimková more opportunities to build her squad ahead of next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Ferns will play Norway — currently ranked 11th in the world by FIFA — in Oslo on Sunday June 26 (3am NZT).

They then play Wales, ranked 31st, in Pineta, Spain, on Wednesday June 29 (5am NZT).

New Zealand are ranked 22nd in the world.

Klimková said: “Both Norway and Wales are on a good run of form, and are at important parts of their own preparations for the Euros and of course and World Cup qualification, so will be very competitive opponents.”

She said the two games would provide the chance to learn more about the player pool and build a stronger culture within the squad.

Having games played in Europe would help reduce the amount of long-haul travel, especially as many in the New Zealand squad are Europe-based.

Norway are drawn in the same group as hosts England, Austria and Northern Ireland in the UEFA Women’s Euros, scheduled for July.

The Ferns last played the Norwegians in 2020 and the two countries have met eight times since their first match in 1981.

New Zealand have won twice and drawn two of their games against Norway.

Wales play Greece and Slovenia in World Cup qualifiers scheduled for September and are aiming to reach their first ever finals tournament.

Wales head coach Gemma Grainger believes New Zealand are ideal opponents in their preparation for the qualifiers.

“This is the next step in the growth of the team. New Zealand are a higher ranked opposition, and we want to continue with that mentality,” she told the BBC.

New Zealand last played Wales in a friendly before the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, losing 1-0.

The two countries have met twice before with New Zealand winning their first encounter 2-0 in 2011.

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