July 5, 2011
SINSHEIM, GERMANY – Two last-gasp goals earned the Football Ferns a dramatic and historic 2-2 FIFA Women’s World Cup draw against Mexico in Sinsheim, Germany on Wednesday morning (NZT).
Trailing to first half goals to Stephany Mayor and Maribel Dominguez and heading to injury time, Rebecca Smith nodded home a 90th minute corner from substitute Kirsty Yallop before 19 year old substitute Hannah Wilkinson – briefly knocked out from a head clash moments earlier – slammed home an Ali Riley cross with the final kick of the game.
The draw sees the Football Ferns claim their first-ever Women’s World Cup point in their ninth match over three tournaments since 1991.
The pre-match talk of the Mexico’s lethal counterattacking ability was right on the money and from their first turnover in midfield barely a minute into the game, Moica Ocampo played in Stephany Mayor to clinically finish through Jenny Bindon for the game’s opening goal.
Mexico were chasing a large victory as part of their equation to qualify for the quarterfinals and their cause was helped when their prolific captain Dominguez got a jump on the kiwi defence in the 29th minute and was left to beat Bindon one on one.
But New Zealand, who had split possession evenly throughout the game, started to get more of a foothold after halftime as Mexico sat deeper and although the Football Ferns had already enjoyed more chances than their opposition they became more threatening in the final 15 minutes.
Substitute Ria Percival, flashed two shots over the bar before Smith went just wide with a header in the dying minutes.
She made no mistake with her next chance, towering over the Mexican defence and directing her header low inside the far post.
With time running out and Wilkinson back on the field after “seeing stars” from a clash of head and heavy fall, the teenager drifted off her marker, chested Riley’s cross down and finished high into the top left corner to seal a dramatic fight back.
“These girls could’ve got on the aeroplane at halftime and gone home,” said New Zealand coach John Herdman, “that was the reality.”
“They had nothing to play for other than their pride and their own identity as footballers and boy, did they go out there and show Mexico. It was magic.”
“We got some really experienced players in the team, including our captain Rebecca Smith – she’s right at the spine of it. But we’ve got a very young team. That was an 19 year old that scored the equaliser that scored the equaliser for New Zealand.”
Meanwhile England topped the group with a 2-0 win over Japan, earning a quarterfinal against France who lost 4-2 to Germany to finish behind the hosts in Group A.
The Football Ferns are eyeing international matches against top tier nations in September as part of their build up for the 2012 Olympics.
As champions of Oceania – via last year’s eight team World Cup qualifying tournament – New Zealand will play off in early 2012 against the winner of a preliminary Oceania qualifying tournament to qualify for the London games.
FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011
Tuesday July 5, 2011
New Zealand 2 (Rebecca SMITH 90’, Hannah WILKINSON 90+4’)
Mexico 2 (Stephany MAYOR 2’, Maribel DOMINGUEZ 29’)
New Zealand: 1-Jenny BINDON (gk), 3-Anna GREEN, 4-Katie HOYLE, 5-Abby ERCEG, 6-Rebecca SMITH (c), 7-Ali RILEY, 8-Hayley MOORWOOD (11-Kirsty YALLOP 60’), 9-Amber HEARN, 10-Sarah GREGORIUS, 12-Betsy HASSETT (2-Ria PERCIVAL 79’), 13-Rosie WHITE (17-Hannah WILKINSON 55’).
Substitutes not used: 14-Sarah McLAUGHLIN, 15-Emma KETE, 16-Annalie LONGO, 18-Katie BOWEN, 19-Kristy HILL, 20-Aroon CLANSEY (rgk), 21-Erin NAYLOR (rgk).
Coach: John HERDMAN
Cautions: Rosie WHITE 33’
Mexico: 20-Cecilia SANTIAGO (gk), 2-Kenti ROBLES (15-Luz del Rosario SAUCEDO 81’),, 4-Alina GARCIAMENDEZ, 5-Natalie VINTI, 6-Natalie GARCIA, 8-Guadalupe WORBIS, 9-Maribel DOMINGUEZ (captain), 11-Nayeli RANGEL (10-Dinora GARZA 46’), 18-Veronica PEREZ, 19-Moica OCAMPO, 21-Stephany MAYOR (16-Charlyn CORRAL 70’).
Substitutes not used: 1-Erika VANEGAS (rgk), 3-Rubi SANDOVAL, 7-Juana LOPEZ, 12-Pamela TAJONAR (gk), 13-Liliana MERCADO, 14-Monica ALVARADO, 17-Teresa NOYOLA.
Coach: Leonardo CUELLAR
Cautions: Maribel DOMINGUEZ 90’