Midfielder Grace Wisnewski is playing down her part in New Zealand’s opening goal at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Her long-range shot took a deflection and wrong-footed Mexico’s goalkeeper to give the Junior Ferns a first-half lead in their pool game, which was drawn 1-1.
However, head coach Gemma Lewis says Wisnewski has been shrugging off her involvement in the goal.
“She’s been like, ‘no, it’s not my goal, it doesn’t count’, but we are like, ‘no, no, we feel like it should be your goal!’” Lewis told NZ Football’s website.
“She was definitely trying to be positive and the attack that she started and drove in the fashion that she was led to the goal – I think she was secretly manifesting a goal! So it was nice that something came her way.”
Overall, Lewis was pleased with her side’s performance.
“We had some good momentum. I thought in the first half we started aggressively, and I thought that put Mexico a little on the back foot. But then they built into the game a bit.
“Conceding late in the first half is a difficult time to concede and changed the game a bit for us. In the second half we came out better and had probably a good 20 minutes before we started to fade and the momentum shifted in Mexico’s favour.
“Then it turned into securing a point rather than chasing the win – whereas originally in moments of the game we really wanted to capitalize and get all three points. But by the end of it were happy to secure the point.”
New Zealand’s next opponents are three-time tournament winners Germany who lost their opening game 1-0 to Colombia.
“Playing Germany is an extremely tough matchup anyway, but now we’re playing them when they’re probably a bit angry and have a point to prove,” says Lewis.
“Recovery is the number one focus now.
“What can we do to get them as close to a hundred per cent before the next game is possible — especially because the way we like to play relies on quite a strong physical element.
“Second to that is looking back through our game, previewing what we can expect from Germany and focusing on those big rocks we can change or slightly improve on or adjust.”