New Zealand beat Vietnam 2-0 in final warmup before World Cup

By Reuters   July 10, 2023 | 02:01 am PT
New Zealand beat Vietnam 2-0 in final warmup before World Cup
New Zealand defender CJ Bott (number four) is fouled by Iceland forward Berglind Bjorg Thorvaldsdottir during a 2022 SheBelieves Cup international football match at Dignity Health Sports Park. Photo by Orlando Ramirez/USA Today Sports via Reuters
Women's World Cup co-hosts New Zealand fine-tuned their preparations for the tournament with a morale-boosting 2-0 win over Vietnam in a friendly at McLean Park in Napier on Monday, earning their first victory on home soil since June 2012.

First-half goals from defender CJ Bott and forward Jacqui Hand also helped New Zealand snap a 10-match winless run. Their last victory was a 2-1 win over Philippines in a friendly in the United States in September 2022.

"This was really important for us, this win and this performance," coach Jitka Klimkova told Sky Sport NZ.

New Zealand dominated from the start and took the lead in the 17th minute when Bott's low shot from outside the box took a slight deflection into the net, before an unmarked Hand rounded off a wonderful team move just before the break.

The return of Annalie Longo was also a major boost for the home side as the veteran midfielder played the last 20 minutes of the contest, making her first appearance for the team since September after recovering from a serious knee injury.

New Zealand, co-hosting the World Cup with Australia, will begin their campaign against former champions Norway in Group A on July 20 as they seek their first win in six appearances at the tournament.

Debutants Vietnam will face defending champions U.S. in group E on July 22.

"We know Norway is tough opposition ... but we can promise that we will leave everything on the field and we will work hard for this country," Klimkova added. "We really want to make this nation proud."

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