Hannah Wilkinson and her epic goal saw New Zealand stun Norway and win the World Cup for the first time

Hannah Wilkinson He celebrated his goal which represented New Zealand’s victory against Canada. (Fred Lee/Getty Images)

Five touches of the ball sent New Zealand into a frenzy. In his own World Cup, his men blew up the Eden Park stadium, and on the surface the nerve, the story could not muster a grand epic. They are not optional. Norway came into all challenges as favourites, and with the motivation to want to Ada Hegerberg, the shining star who dominated the football world with Olympique de Leon. But the night of the World Cup debut Hannah Wilkinson I wanted to tell a different story.

The New Zealand goal fell in a flurry. It was a perfect counterattack that Norway, for all their systematic defense, couldn’t even do. Start from the bottom with a long ball first, then support in the band, get out of the lead in the race Jackie Guy. Its overflow was swift and uncontrollable. Since speed alone was not enough, he added precision and technique to his play: he sent a measured pass. Hannah Wilkinson would close the play with a definition that broke all premonitions.

I could read the bewilderment on the faces of the Norwegian soldiers. Perhaps it wasn’t just the surprise of the conceded goal, they knew from that moment on, and even though they had the entire second half ahead of them, it would be a tough challenge to score against their rivals. New Zealand is not new. And he is not swayed by deadly precedents: They did not win a single match at the World Cup, while Norway finished as one of the top eight teams at the last World Cup, France 2019.

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Norway went in front but found a well planted team that didn’t give up space and had enough threats on the counter-attack. Still they had their moments. For example, Frida Mann also had a clear chance against the opponent’s goal, but she shot wide and couldn’t tie the game. New Zealand, for their part, did their best to extend their lead, coming closest with a brilliant save from Riley’s powerful shot past Mikkelsen.

Then another historic moment occurred Dua HansenThe Norwegian defender scored a one-handed penalty in the 89th minute. The play was reviewed by VAR and, once confirmed, an announcement was made over the stadium’s loudspeakers, something unprecedented in world football history. To add more drama, the shot was missed: Rhea Percival He confronted his charges in office. There was life for the visit because in addition to that defeat, they had nine minutes of stoppage time on the clock.

In the final minutes, tension was everywhere. Norway desperately wanted an equalizer and began to flood the contest area with fruitless crosses. For her part, on the bench, Zhitka Klimkova, the hosts’ coach, looked at her watch to see how much time was left until it was all over. The wait turned into hell as, with nine minutes to go, the referee awarded an extra in which Norway managed to get close to the New Zealand goal, but without any real danger.

It was all over and the unanimous cry in the stands and on the field reminded us of the purest essence of football: no one is invincible. New Zealand made history and were privileged to celebrate at home. Now they will have to wait until Monday when they have to face the Philippines. Norway will mend their ways when they face Switzerland on Tuesday. The Women’s World Cup got off to an emotional start.

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Eden Hayes

"Wannabe gamer. Subtly charming beer buff. General pop culture trailblazer. Incurable thinker. Certified analyst."

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