Author Topic: Football Ferns go close against Norway  (Read 1264 times)

Online David

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Football Ferns go close against Norway
« on: August 09, 2008, 10:19:47 PM »
New Zealand's Football Ferns are confident they can beat Olympic champions the United States in Shenyang on Tuesday to qualify for the second round of Beijing 2008 despite a 1-0 defeat to Norway last night.
The Ferns lifted their performance from their 2-2 draw with Japan on Wednesday but could not peg back an early Norwegian goal despite dominating the second half and having a  handy penalty appeal rejected at Qinhaungdao.
Norway now top Group G with six points and have clinched a place in the second round while the United States beat Japan 1-0 to be second on three points. 
New Zealand and Japan each have one point and identical goals difference ratios but, technically, could still both qualify if they win their last matches.
Toppling the Americans will be a tall order for any team in the world but Ferns coach John Herdman said confidence was high despite the defeat to Norway -  "the Brazil of women's football and most people's tip to win this tournament".
"When we used to look at this (New Zealand v USA) fixture, we'd think David and Goliath. But it isn't any more. These (New Zealand) girls feel they're the Goliath at the minute.
"We'll be going for it. It's not about credibility, these players believe and we are going to go hell for leather."
World Cup semifinalist Norway - having scored twice in the first four minutes of their 2-0 win over the United States -  made another dream start against the Ferns.
Leni Larsen Kaurin fired an eighth minute cross into the penalty area for striker Melissa Wiik to steer a brilliant header beyond Kiwi keeper Jenny Bindon's reach.
Herdman said "a quality cross and a quality finish" was all that separated the two teams.
The New Zealanders regrouped and continued to play with a positive approach.They should have equalised when Katie Hoyle produced a pinpoint raking cross and found the head of Kirsty Yallop. But the Aucklander, who scored in the 2-2 draw with Japan last Wednesday, could not keep her header down and the ball ballooned over the bar.
A year ago the Football Ferns would never have lived with a team of Norway's pedigree. The New Zealanders conceded nine goals in three matches at last year's women's World Cup in China and never found the net themselves.
But  Herdman has fashioned a fitter, composed and more tactically adept side and only poorly executed final passes cost the Kiwis an upset over Norway.
With 18-year-old Hoyle outstanding in midfield, supported by skipper Hayley Morwood and Yallop, the New Zealanders dominated possession but too often over-cooked the final ball to their strikers.
Young winger Ali Riley, 20, tormented the Norwegian flank defenders with her skill but even she could not supply the final bullet for Emma Kete and Amber Hearn.
Kete was incandescent after she became the meat in a Norwegian sandwich inside the box in the 51st minute. She took a tumble and looked up expectantly but Argentine referee Estela Alvarez was unmoved to Kete's evident disgust.
Herdman said the New Zealanders had looked at the footage and were convinced it was a penalty, "but we may be biased".
Centre-back Rebecca Smith, who marshalled the Ferns' defence superbly, saw her long-range shot whistle wide as the Kiwis finished stronger than the Norwegians, most of whose players are full-time professionals.

Offline Alan

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Re: Football Ferns go close against Norway
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2008, 10:53:24 PM »
Well done the Feisty Ferns  :)
Alltid. Uansett.