World Cup hosts Australia, New Zealand off to winning start

Sports Desk, Jul 20 (EFE).- New Zealand and Australia, the joint hosts of the Fifa Women’s World Cup, each won 1-0 as they kicked off the tournament Thursday.

New Zealand stunned former world champions Norway by winning their first ever World Cup match at the 16th attempt, Hannah Wilkinson firing into the goal from Jacqui Hand’s cross to send the crowd of more than 40,000 people into raptures.

In the day’s second match, co-hosts Australia overcame a spirited display from an Ireland side making their World Cup bow.

Steph Catley converted a penalty after 52 minutes, before the Matildas – who were missing talismanic captain Sam Kerr through injury – held on as the Irish poured forward in search of an equalizer that never came.

In what is expected to be the most-watched women’s World Cup in history, both matches set new attendance records for each country.

Some 42,137 packed into Eden Park in Auckland, while 75,784 spectators turned out in Sydney. EFE


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