Football Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková has explained the early substitution of midfielder Malia Steinmetz during the second international against Colombia.
She said playing at altitude had affected Steinmetz.
“She left everything that she could, and she’s a very good teammate, and knowing that someone else can step in and help this team,” Klimová said.
“I think that’s very brave and responsible from her. So yeah, she left what she could and that gave Katie Kitching actually her more minutes so and I’m glad that it worked out.”
Steinmetz was replaced by Sunderland’s Katie Kitching in the 20th minute, giving Kitching her second New Zealand cap.
Klimková said she was pleased by Kitching’s performance and the chance to give Canberra United’s Ruby Nathan (18) her debut as well.
“I am so happy that we invited, (and) we had the courage to invite new players into the camp,” she said.
Six uncapped players travelled to Colombia with the squad that had 10 players who were not members of the 23-player FIFA Women’s World Cup group.
The squad was disrupted by injury and illness.
Defender Marisa van der Meer ruptured her ACL while warming up for the first international, ending her season.
Captain Ali Riley suffered an injury at training and was unable to play in either game.
Defender Rebekah Stott withdrew from the second match, feeling unwell before the game.
Of the 1-0 loss in the second match against Colombia, Klimková said:
“I will start with the positives and again, I saw a lot of grit on the field. Defensively, we were very solid.
“It was a little bit unfortunate with the goal that we conceded, but it was not easy for them to go through us.
“We were very tough defensively, specifically by the sidelines where we wanted to win the ball, and we won the ball a lot.
“In attack, I think that’s our work on. We need to get just better. We need to be more aware about the spaces. We need to be more sophisticated on the ball so we can possess more.
“That was one of our goals, to be actually more successful without position. Have we achieved it? Not 100%.
“I think that’s still something there we could do a better job in this game so we can progress into the final third a little bit more and we can create more chances.
“We created two, three chances in the game and I think we need more.”
Game played on Wednesday December 6, 2023
Colombia 1 (Daniela Montoya 71′)
New Zealand 0