Head coach Jitka Klimková has named her 23-player squad to represent New Zealand at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Klimková made the announcement at Auckland’s Eden Park, venue for the Football Ferns’ opening game of the tournament, against Norway on Thursday July 20.
The squad is provisional, in that Klimková can make changes until July 10 when all participating teams have to confirm their tournament squads.
After that, changes are allowed only in the event of serious injuries before July 19, the eve of the tournament opening.
The co-captains of the side will be Ali Riley and Ria Percival.
Main photo: Jitka Klimková … acknowledged all the players who had trained for the tournament.
The Ferns World Cup squad
The squad named on Friday June 30, 2023:
Elizabeth Anton (18/0) Perth Glory, Australia*
CJ Bott (37/2) Leicester City, England
Katie Bowen (92/3) Unattached
Claudia Bunge (20/0) Melbourne Victory, Australia*
Olivia Chance (43/2) Celtic, Scotland
Milly Clegg (2/0) Unattached*
Daisy Cleverley (31/2) HB Køge, Denmark
Victoria Esson (14/0) Rangers, Scotland
Michaela Foster (4/0) Unattached*
Jacqui Hand (12/1) Åland United, Finland*
Betsy Hassett (143/13) Stjarnan, Iceland
Grace Jale (17/2) Unattached*
Anna Leat (9/0) Aston Villa, England*
Annalie Longo (127/15) Unattached
Erin Nayler (84/0) IFK Norrköping, Sweden
Ria Percival (161/15) Tottenham Hotspur, England
Gabi Rennie (24/2) Arizona State University, USA*
Ali Riley (152/2) Angel City, USA
Indiah-Paige Riley (7/0) Unattached*
Paige Satchell (42/2) Unattached
Malia Steinmetz (18/0) Unattached*
Rebekah Stott (89/4) Brighton & Hove Albion, England
Hannah Wilkinson (113/28) Melbourne City, Australia
*FIFA Women’s World Cup debut
Jitka Klimková: ‘I have absolute faith they will give everything’
In addition to the 23 players named, Ava Collins, Meikayla Moore and Kate Taylor will join as training partners for the tournament.
Speaking on her team selection, Klimková was proud of the work of all the extended squad during the two-month selection process:
“Firstly, I want to acknowledge all 38 players who have been involved in our training programme leading into the tournament, especially the final group who were part of the process until this week.
“They are all valued members of the Football Ferns whānau, they should feel proud to represent the best footballers in Aotearoa and have given us some very challenging selection decisions to make.
“Congratulations to our final 23 players selected. I have absolute faith they will give everything for our team and the country come July.
“I believe we have selected a good balance of youth and experience across the squad, from the 10 players making their debuts to other members of the group who have appeared at multiple FIFA Women’s World Cups.
“With the extra motivation and excitement surrounding the event on home soil, we now need the country to get behind the team as we look to inspire our nation and deliver one of our best-ever performances at a FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
The players who missed out
The 10 players who attended the Ferns training camp until this week, and were not named in the tournament squad were:
Mackenzie Barry (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand)
Ava Collins (St John’s University, United States) — will be training partner with squad
Brianna Edwards (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand)
Ally Green (AGF, Denmark)
Meikayla Moore (Glasgow City, Scotland) — will be training partner with squad
Grace Neville (London City Lionesses, England)
Emma Rolston (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand)
Kate Taylor (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand) — will be training partner with squad
Ashleigh Ward (Southampton, England)
Grace Wisnewski (Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand)
# Current world rankings
Pool game 1 — Auckland
Game to be played on Thursday July 20, 2023,
New Zealand (#26) v Norway (#12)
Eden Park, Auckland, 7pm (NZT)
Pool Game 2 — Wellington
Game to be played on Tuesday July 25, 2023
New Zealand (#26) v Philippines (#46)
Sky Stadium, Wellington, 5.30pm (NZT)
Pool game 3 — Dunedin
Game to be played on Sunday July 30, 2023
Switzerland (#20) v New Zealand (#26)
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin7pm (NZT)
‘… and about that Ferns shirt, Mr Foster’
All Blacks coach Ian Foster was at the squad announcement to watch his daughter Michaela named in the World Cup squad.
Fern Annalie Longo decided to put Ian Foster on the spot, asking him whether he preferred the All Blacks’ new shirt or the Ferns shirt.
Here’s his reaction as broadcast by 1News: