New Zealand Women will be looking to continue their winning start to their 2023 World Cup campaign, when they take on Philippines Women in Wellington on Tuesday morning (06.30).
New Zealand stunned Norway with a 1-0 victory in the tournament opener, while the Philippines are looking to bounce back from defeat, after suffering a 2-0 loss against Switzerland in their opening group game.
The World Cup co-hosts may take confidence from their previous meeting with the Philippines, which produced a 2-1 victory in September 2022, while Filipinas will be hoping for a improved display, after failing to register a shot on target in their opening match.
After winning their opening group game, it wouldn’t be surprising to see New Zealand boss Jitkas Klimkova to name an unchanged lineup here.
That would see Victoria Esson start between the sticks, while Ria Percival and Malia Steinmetz make up the engine room for the Football Ferns.
As for Philippines, Sofia Harrison may have to take a seat on the bench for this game, as her caution against Switzerland means that she is one away from suspension.
Sarina Bolden, who plies her trade for the Western Sydney Wanderers, has accumulated 22 goals in just 36 matches for the national team so could be a threat here.
New Zealand to win and under 2.5 goals @ 7/4
With New Zealand being co-hosts of the tournament, they will not be short of support here, which I think could play a pivotal role in the outcome of this match.
As mentioned, these two sides faced off last year which resulted in a 2-1 victory for New Zealand, and I think another closely-fought contest should be expected here.
New Zealand have gone under 2.5 total goals in four of their last five games, while Philippines have gone under 2.5 total goals in three of their last four matches, so I think goals will be few and far between in this encounter.
Hannah Wilkinson to score in 90 minutes @ 11/8
Wilkinson, who plays for Melbourne City, will be looking to continue her fine form after scoring five goals in her last seven games for club and country, including the winning goal in New Zealand’s victory against Norway.
New Zealand had failed to win in 15 previous World Cup finals matches, exiting in the group stage in all five appearances, but Thursday’s triumph – and Wilkinson’s goal – provides hope that the country can taste knockout football for the first time.
The Melbourne City striker will be hoping that she can lead her country to the knockout stages here as victory should all but confirm their place in the next round.