Ferns dominate but can’t shake off plucky Philippines in World Cup upset

New Zealand were victims of a an historic upset at the FIFA Women’s World Cup when the Philippines beat the Football Ferns 1-0 in Wellington.

The Ferns dominated possession, goal opportunities and had the best of the play but the Philippines fought hard and pinched the game with their first-ever World Cup goal, scored by Sarina Bolden who rose high to head past ‘keeper Vic Esson in the 24th minute.

Main photo: Sarina Bolden enjoys the moment as her goal puts the Philippines in front.

The result left New Zealand needing a positive result in Dunedin on Sunday when they play Switzerland in their final group game.

READ MORE: Ferns’ fate will go to the wire in Sunday’s games at FIFA Women’s World Cup >>>>

The Ferns had many chances to win the game against the Philippines, watched by 32,357 spectators at Sky Stadium.

After the teams turned around, Ferns coach Jitka Klimková introduced substitutes Annalie Longo and Olivia Chance.

Urged on by the crowd, the Ferns patiently built attacks while the Philippines players got between them and the goal, stacking their rearguard.

New Zealand’s Malia Steinmetz directs a header towards the Philippines goal.

In the 58th minute, a CJ Bott cross was headed just over the bar by striker Hannah Wilkinson.

In the 65th minute, Wilkinson set up Jacqui Hand for a shot which rattled the post and rebounded to safety.

In the 68th minute, Wilkinson won the ball deep and chipped neatly across the goal where Hand met the ball with her head, sending it past a helpless Olivia McDaniel in the Philippines goal.

The crowd went wild and the New Zealand players rushed to their dugout in celebration.

The VAR officials spoiled the party, reviewing the goal and deciding Wilkinson had been offside by the barest of margins.

As the referee signalled there would be five minutes of added time, the desperate Ferns tried to find an equaliser.

Substitute Grace Jale had the best chance, shooting on the turn but McDaniel turned it past the post.

At the whistle, it was the jubilant Philippines side that celebrated their turn to make history.

The Ferns gathered to regroup and to focus on what’s to come in Dunedin.

Match analysis

Half-time stats
(New Zealand / Philippines)

Shots: 5 / 1
Shots on target: 0 / 1
Possession: 72% / 28%
Passes: 177 / 73
Pass accuracy: 77% / 56%
Fouls committed: 5 / 0
Offsides: 0 / 0
Corners: 2 / 0

Full-time stats
(New Zealand / Philippines)

Shots: 16 /4
Shots on target: 4 /1
Possession: 70% / 30%
Passes: 526 / 248
Pass accuracy: 73% / 49%
Fouls committed: 9 / 8
Offsides: 2 / 1
Corners: 7 /0

Match highlights


Games played on Tuesday July 25, 2023

Venue: Sky Stadium, Wellington
Attendance: 32,357

New Zealand 0
Philippines 1 (Sarina Bolden 24′)

Venue: FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
Attendance: 10,769

Norway 0
Switzerland 0



New Zealand’s starting line-up against the Philippines.

New Zealand

Vic Esson, Ali Riley, Katie Bowen, Rebekah Stott, CJ Bott, Betsy Hassett (Annalie Longo 46′), Malia Steinmetz, Ria Percival (captain) (Grace Jale 84′), Jacqui Hand, Hannah Wilkinson, Indiah-Paige Riley (Olivia Chance 46′).

Subs not used: Erin Nayler, Anna Leat, Daisy Cleverley, Claudia Bunge, Grace Jale, Liz Anton, Paige Satchell, Gabi Rennie, Milly Clegg.

Yellow card

Wilkinson (42′)


Olivia McDaniel, Jessika Cowart (Ryley Bugay 83′), Jaclyn Sawicki, Hali Long (captain), Sarina Bolden (Carleigh Frilles 83′), Sara Eggesvik (Isabella Flanigan 64′), Angela Beard, Sofia Harrison, Alicia Barker (Tahnai Annis 70′), Quinley Quezada (Dominique Randle 70′), Katrina Guillou.

Subs not used: Kaiya Jota, Kiara Fontanilla, Malea Cesar, Tahnai Annis, Chandler McDaniel, Anicka Castaneda, Ryley Bugay, Merll Serrano, Carleigh Frilles, Dominique Randle, Reina Bonta.

Yellow card

Beard (48′)

Match officials

Referee: Katia Garcia (Mexico)
Assistant referees: Karina Diaz (Mexico) and Enedina Caudillo (Mexico).
Fourth official: Yujeong Kim (South Korea)
Video assistant referee: Abdulla Al Marri (Qatar)
Assistant VAR: Adil Zourak (Morocco)
Offside VAR: Fatiha Jermoumi (Morocco)
FIFA match director: Latoya Dacosta (Brazil)
FIFA match commissioner: Valesca Araujo (Jamaica)

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