Ferns coach Jitka Klimková says the performance of key individuals means New Zealand can take positives from their 2-0 international friendly loss to Norway.
In her post-match interview, she picked out goalkeeper Vic Esson, returning midfielder Annalie Longo and defender Liz Anton for their displays against the team rated 11th best in the FIFA world rankings.
Klimková also acknowledged the second-half debut of Junior Ferns captain Kate Taylor (18).
“There are a lot of positives from this game,” she said.
Fired up by a large Oslo crowd, Norway mounted early attacks, looking for their star striker, all-time UEFA Champions League leading goalscorer Ada Hegerberg.
But with Claudia Bunge directing the Ferns defence, and Esson looking confident between the posts, New Zealand dealt with the early threats.
The Ferns had their first effort on goal in the 19th minute when Katie Bowen struck from long range but ‘keeper Guro Pettersen steered the shot to safety.
Hegerberg showed her class in the 34th minute when she won possession on the edge of the Ferns penalty area.
She controlled the ball, turned and struck it sweetly, despite the despairing attempt by Longo to close her down, and the shot beat Esson.
Hegerberg’s goal celebration was a show of support for the victims of the Oslo shooting on the eve of the match.
Main photo: Hegerberg was making her 70th appearance for Norway.
The Ferns soon had a chance to level when Bowen and striker Hannah Wilkinson almost got on the end of a Meikayla Moore cross.
Soon after the start of the second half, New Zealand went close to scoring when Paige Satchell headed home a cross from Olivia Chance, only to have her effort ruled offside.
New Zealand’s best chance of the half fell to Bowen who tried desperately to steer home a cross from substitute Jacqui Hand but could not make sufficient contact.
The New Zealanders kept pushing forward in search of an equaliser but Norway sealed the game in added time when defender Guro Bergsvand scored from a corner.
— New Zealand Football (@NZ_Football) June 25, 2022
Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková said her team had taken risks, particularly late in the game, moving one player, and then two, “out of the box” to push forward.
She told NZ Football:
“This time it didn’t work out but this is how we are always going to play.
“If we want to take these risks, we are playing till the end and this time it didn’t work out but I’m very positive about many, many things that happened today.
“We had a perfect performance from Vic Esson again, who kept us in the game. We had Kate Taylor make her debut. It’s a really bright future. If I look at how she performed against such a strong opposition and won many, many one v one battles …
” … Another one with Liz Anton who played the whole game. Never started before, ever and all of a sudden she finished the game. We had Annalie Longo who is back and performed really well and helped us to keep the ball better. So there are a lot of positives from this game.”
Possession: Norway 64%, New Zealand 36%
Shots: Norway 20, New Zealand 9
Shots on target: Norway 8, New Zealand 2
Passes: Norway 493, New Zealand 285
Pass accuracy: Norway 76%, New Zealand 67%
Fouls: Norway 3, New Zealand 2
Offsides: Norway 1, New Zealand 5
Corners: Norway 11, New Zealand 6
Game played Sunday June 26, 2022 (NZT)
Norway 2 (Ada Hegerberg 34’, Guro Bergsvand 90+5′)
New Zealand 0
Ullevaal Stadium, Oslo
Starting formation 4-4-2: Victoria Esson, Elizabeth Anton, Claudia Bunge, Meikayla Moore, Rebekah Stott (Kate Taylor 46′), Katie Bowen, Olivia Chance (Gabi Rennie 64′), Betsy Hassett (Daisy Cleverley 74′), Annalie Longo (Malia Steinmetz 64′), Paige Satchell (Jacqui Hand 85′), Hannah Wilkinson (Emma Rolston 64′).