New Zealand footballers beat Norway 1-0 in the opening game of the World Cup in Auckland. Czech coach Jitka Klimková led them to their first league victory in history.
The game was preceded by a minute’s silence for the victims of the Auckland shooting, which took place hours before the game. In the incident near the hotel of the Norwegian national team, three people died, including the attacker.
42,137 spectators watched the match at Eden Park Stadium, which came with heightened security measures due to the shootout. This is a record attendance for New Zealand football.
Hannah Wilkinson decided the victory for the home side in the 48th minute. At the very end, New Zealand could have sealed victory with a handball penalty, but Ria Percival failed to convert the penalty in the 90th minute.
The referee decided on the penalty only after watching the video. She then explained the verdict to spectators directly in the stadium for the first time under the new rule introduced for the trial in January.
New Zealand’s first World Cup victory in history was not marked by a missed penalty. National football players were able to win it in their sixth appearance, in the previous fifteen matches in the championships, they drew only three times.
The second host country, Australia, also managed to enter the tournament. In Sydney, in front of 75,784 spectators, they managed a 1-0 victory against Ireland, who were making their first appearance in the championship. Stephanie Catley scored the only goal from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute.
Australia have managed even without captain Sam Kerr, who will at least miss the next group game with Nigeria. The top scorer in the history of the national team suffered a calf injury in training the day before the match.
At the ninth Women’s World Cup, they attack a golden hat-trick for the representatives of the United States, who have dominated the two previous tournaments and are the most successful team in history with four triumphs. The first championship of the southern hemisphere is played for the first time in an expanded format with 32 teams.
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Shortly before the start of the World Cup, the Australian footballers appealed to the international federation FIFA to equalize the financial rewards during the championship. They did so in a social media video where they pointed out that the women would be paid around a quarter of what the men are paid for the tournament.
The footballers will share 110 million dollars (2.3 billion crowns) in prize money during the championship. Compared to the previous championship four years ago, this represents an increase of 300%. However, women footballers do not like the fact that their salaries are still significantly lower than those of men. FIFA handed out bonuses totaling $440 million to players during the World Cup in Qatar last December
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