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New Zealand hail “inspirational” women’s football team following historic win at World Cup

Wellington, Nw Zealand | Xinhua |  New Zealand’s top sports official on Friday praised the country’s national women’s football team’s opening match at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup as “historic” and “inspirational”.

New Zealand opened the tournament on Thursday with their first ever World Cup win, dispatching former champions and 12th-ranked Norway 1-0 in front of a record crowd of 42,137 at Auckland’s Eden Park.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson congratulated the Football Ferns on an inspirational performance.

“The team played with class, composure and determination to win our first ever World Cup match and start New Zealand’s campaign off on a high,” Robertson said.

Football Ferns captain Ali Riley said, “We have had a clear goal to inspire young girls around the country.”

Robertson encouraged New Zealanders to snap up tickets and go to matches near them in order to be part of the action.

Thursday marked the beginning of the month-long 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia.

A further 28 matches will take place in New Zealand’s Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin.

Thursday’s opening match was not affected by a deadly shooting hours before the match in Auckland, in which three people, including the gunman, died, and six others were left injured, including a police officer. ■