New Zealand created history by defeating Norway in the opening game of the FIFA Women's World Cup at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. They became the first-ever New Zealand team (men or women) to win any FIFA World Cup finals match. The Football Ferns broke their 15-game win drought against a strong Norweigan team. Jitka Klimkova, the coach of the New Zealand Women's football team believe that this win will bring more passion to New Zealand football.
"I still have goosebumps. I still have emotions in me. We waited for this moment for such a long, long time," football ferns coach Jitka Kilmkova could not get over the emotions after the win. "Having this opportunity at home, beating Norway, stronger position, hearing our fans being behind us, that is just an unforgettable moment for me as a coach and of course for all the players that been involved," Klimkova added in the post-match press conference.
The Football Ferns looked solid from the right go in front of a record crowd at Eden Park. The first half was good for them but without any goals. However, the second half changed everything for them, maybe for the future of New Zealand football as well. Jitka Kilmkova believes the team was calm before the game and this is the most focused she saw her team in recent times and she was confident that her team can do some special things in the tournament.
"We're very calm. I think that was one of the most focused moments that I (have) seen this team being. I started believing after our game against Vietnam, (and) after our game against Italy. We have done so much and improved so much as a team, we started really believing that we can do it."
"Seeing us playing from the first minute, fighting for the country, fighting for us, the belief was even stronger. I think the performance we show the world was really solid and the result was well deserved."
It was Hannah Wilkinson's goal in the 48th minute that saw more than forty thousand Football Ferns fans cheer the loudest of their lives. A brilliant run from Indiah-Paige Riley and a perfect finish from Hannah was good enough for them to write history. Coach Jitka Kilmkova now has faith that this FIFA Women's World Cup can bring more New Zealanders to follow the beautiful game in a country made about Rugby.
"I really believe this world cup will wake up a lot of passion in football and one of our goals and priorities as a team, we want to keep inspiring with performances like tonight. This is just the beginning," Jitka Kilmkova told the media.
"We will have this crowd behind us every time we step on the field. That's what we need. The fans for us so important. So, I want to thank them for coming and supporting us and I hope they will keep coming. The love for football will in this country."
"I will never forget this moment when I saw those experienced players just…"finally it came", and what a great timing to do it at home," Jitka Klimkova expressed.