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JILL ROORD came off the bench and scored in stoppage time to give the Netherlands a 1-0 victory over New Zealand in the Women’s World Cup group opener for both teams today.
The European champions controlled possession throughout the game, but couldn’t get by New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler until Roord’s breakthrough header in the second minute of additional time.
The Arsenal midfielder headed home a loose ball in the six-yard box, with New Zealand under increasing pressure from the Oranje.
Dutch boss Sarina Wiegman said the Ferns defended very strongly but that her side had prepared for all situations.
“We wanted to change our plan, our line-up and energise our team and today we were lucky because our three substitutes contributed to an outstanding result,” Wiegman said.
“It flags the quality of our team that the subs are ready to play, so I’m pleased with the situation.
“Our play was too slow, our movement was not cute and sometimes we did not play with accuracy, losing the ball and they were able to attack, so there were some negative points which made it difficult for us.”
The tough loss after a strong defensive effort means that 19th-ranked New Zealand are still looking for their first-ever World Cup victory.
Tom Sermanni, former coach of the Australia and United States, was hired by New Zealand last October in time for the Ferns to qualify for their fifth World Cup.
“I am happy with the performance throughout the game,” the coach said.
“We were courageous, battled hard and were unbelievably disciplined. We gave everything we could give and tactically spot on. It is a bit heartbreaking but that is football.
“We have to take the great things we did and do it against Canada. We came up against one of the best teams in the world and went shoulder to shoulder with them.
“They [the Netherlands] were very concerned, you could tells things were not going their way.
“They knew they were in for a battle but would have felt confident coming in to the tournament.”
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