July 18, 2012
AUCKLAND – The Football Ferns head to London in buoyant mood after wrapping up their Olympic preparations with a 2-1 win over Colombia in Saviese, Switzerland this morning.
New Zealand dominated the South Americans from start to finish but didn’t make the breakthrough until injury time in the first half when Amber Hearn and Rebecca Smith both netted.
Hearn nodded the Ferns into the lead in the first minute of time added on when Rosie White put Anna Green’s cross back into the fray. Two minutes later Hearn helped on Ria Percival’s freekick to Rebecca Smith whose flick looped into the Colombian net.
New Zealand missed a host of chances to kill the game in the second half with a pair of Hearn headers missing the target and close range shots from Hannah Wilkinson and Ria Percival both saved by the ‘keeper.
Colombia took advantage of a flat five minute spell from the Ferns late in the match to pull a goal back through Liana Salazar but it was a rare foray into New Zealand’s penalty area and the kiwis quickly regained control to see off the fellow Olympic competitors.
The Football Ferns were without Ali Riley who picked up an ankle injury from a nasty challenge in Sunday’s loss to Canada. The fullback didn’t suit up against Colombia but is expected to be fit to face Great Britain in their Olympic opener.
After the Ferns’ relatively poor showing in that 0-2 defeat to the Canadians, New Zealand coach Tony Readings was pleased with his players’ reply to his call for more quality.
“The players were hungry to respond on the pitch and were champing at the bit to get out there today,” Readings said.
“The performance was much more characteristic of how we’ve been playing this year. We dominated possession, we pressed more effectively and were more physical in the challenges.
“One thing we’ll be working on between now and the opening game is our ability to take chances. There were some fantastic moves to create opportunities but we should really have put that game to bed in the first ten minutes of the second half.”
Readings said the final leg of their build up in Switzerland – which also included a 10-0 win over top Swiss club side Young Boys FC – has answered, and asked, some important questions.
“The games over here have been immensely valuable. We’ve learnt a lot from each of them and that’ll stand us in good stead at the Olympics.”
The Football Ferns head to London tomorrow for two days in the Olympic Village before resuming training in Cardiff on July 20 ahead of their July 25 match against Great Britain – the opening act of the entire Olympic Games. They also face Brazil and Cameroon in pool play.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand men’s team depart the Olympic Village tonight for Austria where they meet UAE on Friday morning (NZT) to finalise their own Olympic preparations.
Matchworld Women’s Cup 2012
July 17, 2012
New Zealand 2 (Amber HEARN 45+1’, Rebecca SMITH 45+3’)
Colombia 1 (Liana SALAZAR 86’)
New Zealand: 1-Jenny BINDON (GK), 2-Ria PERCIVAL, 3-Anna GREEN (15-Rebekah STOTT 68’), 4-Katie HOYLE (8-Hayley MOORWOOD 46’), 5-Abby ERCEG, 6-Rebecca SMITH (captain / 14-Kristy HILL 81’), 9-Amber HEARN, 10-Sarah GREGORIUS, 12-Betsy HASSETT, 13-Rosie WHITE (17-Hannah WILKINSON 46’), 16-Annalie LONGO (11-Kirsty YALLOP 71’).
Substitutes not used: 18-Rebecca ROLLS (GK).
Unavailable: 7-Ali RILEY.
Coach: Tony READINGS
Cautions: Katie HOYLE 12’