New Zealand missed a golden opportunity to edge closer to the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup as the Philippines upset them in Wellington.

It was a famous victory for the Philippines, the first by one of the eight debutants at the tournament, and they celebrated passionately at full-time.

Co-hosts New Zealand shocked Norway on the opening day and knew another victory could have sealed their place in the last 16, but they could not find a breakthrough on a frustrating evening.

Instead, it was the Philippines’ Sarina Bolden who sprinted away in celebration in the 24th minute after heading in Sara Eggesvik’s clipped cross for the country’s first goal at a Women’s World Cup.

Goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel produced heroics in stoppage time, denying New Zealand substitute Grace Jale with an excellent fingertip save as her half-volley was heading towards the bottom corner.

New Zealand, spurred on by a vocal home crowd, were pushing for an equaliser for the entirety of the second half but Jacqui Hand had a goal ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee [VAR] after she hit the post earlier, while striker Hannah Wilkinson headed a cross over the bar in one of the game’s biggest chances.

In the other game in Group A, Norway take on Switzerland, who can confirm qualification for the last 16 with victory.

Debutants prove their worth on global stage

Lower-ranked nations have performed well in the tournament so far but typically have not quite found the cutting edge to take them over the line. However, the Philippines bucked the trend.

Buoyed by their defensive sturdiness in the opening 20 minutes, they began to cause problems on the counter-attack and Bolden took advantage, powering a header past Victoria Esson from close range.

Creative touches, slick passing and dynamic movement followed from the Philippines as they grew in confidence, heading into the break with an unexpected lead.

New Zealand had support from the home crowd, but they grew increasingly frustrated in the second half and tension built in the Wellington Regional Stadium.

Celtic’s Olivia Chance made a difference when she was introduced, producing several good balls from the left, but goalkeeper McDaniel stood firm in the Philippines goal.

Hand’s disallowed goal, her strike which hit the post, Wilkinson’s missed header and Jale’s late attempt were the best of the chances, but the Philippines also had a goal ruled out for offside when teenager Isabella Flanigan slotted into the corner in the second half.

It is a result which leaves Group A wide open and co-hosts New Zealand must now hope to get a result in their final match against Switzerland to progress to the knockout stages for the first time.

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

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