Philippines shock New Zealand for first Women’s World Cup win

Sarina Bolden scores Philippines’ historic match-winner from their first shot on goal in a 1-0 win.

Philippines' Sarina Bolden celebrates scoring their first goal
The Philippines' Sarina Bolden celebrates scoring against New Zealand [Amanda Perobelli/Reuters]

With its first goal at its first Women’s World Cup the unfavoured Philippines won its first ever match in the tournament, shocking co-hosts New Zealand 1-0 in a Group A game made contentious when a potential equaliser was disallowed.

For the first time in six World Cups, the Football Ferns went into the match as favourites on Tuesday, and would have almost certainly become the first team to reach the round of 16 with another win after they had upset Norway in the opening match of the tournament last week.

But Sarina Bolden scored the Philippines’ historic match-winner from their first shot on goal in the 24th minute, flipping the script and silencing a packed stadium of 33,000 mostly Kiwi football fans.

New Zealand had been ascendant in the first 20 minutes, playing with a confidence which reflected their expectation that this would be its best shot at winning in the group stage and it seemed inevitable the goals would come which would carry into the next round for the first time.

New Zealand keeper Vic Esson had nothing to do until the 20th minute when she had to come forward to punch away a threatening free kick. Suddenly there was panic, even disarray in the New Zealand defence.

Four minutes later and from another free kick which caused chaos in the New Zealand goalmouth, the clearance was ineffective and Sara Eggesvik sent the ball back in for Bolden, who leapt high to head the ball home.

There was a moment of stunned silence and suddenly Philippines supporters found full voice.

For the rest of the first half the match was more competitive as New Zealand tried to regroup and rally. They had a handful of wasted chances before halftime.

New Zealand threw everything at the Philippines in the second half but to no avail. The moment of contention came in the 68th when Jacqui Hand, who had been denied by the post four minutes earlier, headed home what seemed to be the equalising goal from Hannah Wilkinson’s cross.

The New Zealanders were in full celebration until the referee ruled that Wilkinson had been offside. The decision was close: Wilkinson’s arm and part of her shoulder were offside, but that was enough.

In a frenetic finish, Philippines striker Carleigh Frilles also got the ball into the net from an offside position and New Zealand’s Grace Jale was foiled from close range by a fine McDaniel save.

The Philippines close out their Group A against 1995 winners Norway on Sunday, while New Zealand face Switzerland.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies