Football Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková says her players were confident of breaking their goal drought after hitting the net in training ahead of their 1-1 draw with Iceland.
“During our sessions, we were putting the ball in the net, so we were more confident coming into this game,” she said after the match in Turkey.
“Oh my gosh, we were waiting for this moment for so long,” Klimková said of New Zealand’s 34th-minute goal, a header from striker Hannah Wilkinson from a Michaela Foster corner.
The header ended a wait of more than nine hours of international without a goal by the New Zealanders.
“I am very happy for Hannah Wilkinson that she scored the goal, for herself and our team and everyone in New Zealand.”
As for Foster, Klimková said: “She actually had on her the best player of Iceland (Sveindís Jónsdóttir), very quick. We knew she’s a threat, but how she dealt with her and how aggressive she was in her one-v-one defending was another positive from today’s game.
“Not just defensively, she really helped us to keep the ball as well.
“She is very composed on the ball and both footed so it was nice to see that she can fit into our team so nicely.”
Overall, Klitková was pleased with the way the Ferns played against Iceland, ranked 14th in the world.
“I am very, very happy about how we performed
“It was very solid from our team, playing against strong opposition like Iceland.
“We agreed, as a team, that we want to be gritty and united in our defence, and we could see that today during the game. If we perform this way, we can have very positive outcomes.
“I feel the draw against Iceland is very, very positive.”
Game played on Saturday April 8, 2023 (NZT)
New Zealand 1 (Hannah Wilkinson 34′)
Iceland 1 (Dagný Brynjarsdóttir 27′)