World Cups are known for their memorable upsets, and the 2023 Women’s World Cup had its share of surprises from the very beginning. The co-hosts, New Zealand, produced an astonishing performance, stunning Norway with a 1-0 victory in their opening match in Auckland. At the heart of this historic triumph was the talented Hannah Wilkinson, whose stunning goal sent the crowd into delirious celebrations.

New Zealand’s Elusive Victory

For years, securing a World Cup win had remained an elusive dream for New Zealand. The Football Ferns, despite participating in five previous women’s tournaments, had never tasted victory. The men’s team also struggled, failing to secure a win in their two World Cup appearances. The hunger for a breakthrough victory was palpable, and the nation’s footballing hopes were vested in the co-hosts’ success on home turf.

A Historic Moment at Eden Park

The stage was set at the iconic Eden Park in Auckland, where more than 40,000 passionate fans gathered to witness history in the making. Amidst the sea of green and white, New Zealand’s footballers stood ready to face Norway in a match that would define their World Cup journey.

Hannah Wilkinson’s Magical Strike

As the game kicked off, New Zealand demonstrated determination and skill, putting Norway on the back foot. The moment of magic came just after half-time when Hannah Wilkinson showcased her brilliance. A fluid and breathtaking team move created the perfect opportunity, and Wilkinson clinically finished it off, unleashing a shot that found the back of the net. The crowd erupted, and the co-hosts had taken the lead.

Fighting for a Memorable Victory

The match continued with high intensity, both teams showing their determination to secure a win. New Zealand’s defense stood firm, with goalkeeper Victoria Esson making a crucial save to deny Tuva Hansen’s powerful long-range attempt. As the minutes ticked away, Norway had a chance to level the score when a penalty was awarded, but New Zealand’s hopes were kept alive as the penalty was missed.

Holding On and Celebrating Triumph

The tension escalated in injury time as Norway pressed for an equalizer, but New Zealand’s resolve prevailed. The Football Ferns held on until the final whistle, sealing a historic 1-0 victory. The stadium erupted with wild celebrations as players embraced on the field and fans cheered with joy.

Emotions Overflow

The emotional impact of this triumph was evident in the post-match reactions. New Zealand’s captain, Ali Riley, expressed her pride and emotions, understanding the significance of this historic win in inspiring young girls in New Zealand and worldwide. Coach Jitka Klimkova shared her joy, especially for the players who had been part of the previous winless World Cup squads, making the victory all the more meaningful.

Tragedy and Triumph

The opening of the 2023 Women’s World Cup was marred by tragedy, with a shooting incident in Auckland just hours before the tournament’s commencement. Despite the somber backdrop, New Zealand’s footballers were determined to bring positivity and inspiration to their nation, and they succeeded in doing just that with their remarkable victory.


The opening match of the 2023 Women’s World Cup will forever be etched in New Zealand’s sporting history. The Football Ferns’ shocking win over Norway displayed the nation’s passion, determination, and footballing talent. As the tournament unfolds, New Zealand’s triumph will serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration, showcasing that with perseverance, anything is possible in the world of football.

1. What was the final score of the match between New Zealand and Norway?

The final score was 1-0 in favor of New Zealand.

2. Who scored the decisive goal for New Zealand?

Hannah Wilkinson scored the stunning goal that secured the victory for New Zealand.

3. How many fans were present at the Eden Park stadium during the match?

More than 40,000 passionate fans filled the Eden Park stadium to support New Zealand.

4. How did New Zealand’s goalkeeper, Victoria Esson, contribute to the win?

Victoria Esson made a crucial save to deny Tuva Hansen’s powerful long-range attempt, preserving New Zealand’s lead.

5. What impact did this victory have on New Zealand’s footballing hopes?

This historic victory inspired hope and pride in the nation, showing that New Zealand could compete on the world football stage.

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