New Zealand, who hosted the Women's World Cup, was eliminated following a tie with Switzerland

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It had never happened before for a World Cup host or even co-host to lose in the group stage, but there is always a first time, and New Zealand is now forced to watch their own party from the sidelines.

Jitka Klimkova's weeping team placed third, while a dreadfully unadventurous Switzerland did just enough to earn the point that meant they topped Group A and will now face either Japan or Spain in the round of 16.

The Ferns' performance thus far has been dismal, but context is necessary. After Klimkova became the country's first employed head coach in 2021, New Zealand has only had one full-time manager since. The former Czech international also achieved her pre-tournament goal of helping her adopted nation to a maiden group stage victory at a World Cup finals.

With the exception of a costly loss to the Philippines in their second group game, Australia's co-host team could not build on that promising start and now finds itself limited to a spectator position as the fun continues around them.

It was crucial for New Zealand to win in Dunedin after Norway thumped the Philippines 6-0 on Sunday in Auckland. The Klimkova team dutifully set up camp in Switzerland's half.

In fact, throughout an initially tense and somewhat fragmented first half, New Zealand's opponents had few significant touches in the hosts' half due to their territorial dominance.


Also Read: New Zealand, who hosted the Women's World Cup, was eliminated following a tie with Switzerland


However, a somewhat one-paced New Zealand team struggles with ruthless finishing, as possession stubbornly failed to result in clear-cut opportunities. There was a sense that Inka Grings's Switzerland was calmly waiting to undo New Zealand on the counterattack, even though influential Jacqui Hand was regrettably unfortunate to see a stinging volley hit a post.

The only issue was that Ramona Bachmann, a top forward for Switzerland, was practically completely anonymous and starving for service. Grings appeared appropriately disappointed after Coumba Sow missed the only real chance they had in the first half.

They seemed to be content to play without the ball and pack their defenders for extended stretches, which may help to explain why. The European team would go to the knockout rounds as long as Switzerland kept a clean sheet they haven't given up a goal in this World Cup.

The valiantly enthusiastic 25,947 sellout crowd in frigid Dunedin, where the nighttime temperature was plunging towards a low of 3C, found it all to be quite frustrating to watch.

The fact that Hannah Wilkinson, the player who scored the game-winning goal against Norway, was continually questioned and driven into defensive dead ends by Switzerland must have frustrated those supporters.

In an effort to alter the story Goalkeeper Victoria Esson of Klimkova advanced to attack late set pieces and, dramatically, connected with Bowen's incredibly enticing cross at the 11th hour, but she headed wide.

New Zealand appeared to be inconsolable as the final whistle rang. Grings doesn't have to tell Bachmann and company that they must significantly improve if they want to go to the quarterfinals.

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