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Women’s World Cup: Philippines make history, Norway stumble again

The Philippines became the first of the eight debutant nations to claim a victory at the 2023 Women’s World Cup as they eked out a 1-0 win over a more heavily fancied New Zealand side.

Sarina Bolden headed home from Sara Kristine Eggesvik’s cross midway through the first half to give Alen Stajcic’s team a maiden Women’s World Cup triumph.

Bolden’s header was also the Philippines’ first-ever goal at the tournament following a 2-0 defeat to Group A pacesetters Switzerland in a curtain-raising fixture.

While Filipinas’ unexpected success puts them in the knockout qualification frame, having helped them whittle down the gap on current runners-up New Zealand, the Ferns’ chances are now compromised.

Tuesday’s disappointment undid their prior heroics against Norway as they opened their Women’s World Cup journey with an against-the-odds 1-0 triumph over the European heavyweights.

Going into the final group matchday, they’re level on points with the Philippines and two clear of bottom-ranked Norway.

However, with the Norwegians widely expected to overcome the section minnows, anything other than a victory against Switzerland in their third game could condemn them to group-stage elimination.

In the other Group A fixture, Switzerland and Norway shared the spoils in an uneventful 0-0 draw at Hamilton’s Waikato Stadium, leaving the latter’s qualification hopes in tatters.

Forced to settle for a point despite showing a more genuine ambition to get on the scoresheet than the Swiss, Hege Riise’s ladies could be staring down the barrel of a first group-stage exit since 2011.

That’s, of course, unless they fail to beat the Philippines on Sunday in a nail-biting Group A finale.

Elsewhere, Colombia’s first appearance at the Women’s World Cup since 2015 couldn’t have started any better as a quick-fire first-half double fired them to a 2-0 win over South Korea in their Group H opener.

Catalina Usme’s penalty catapulted Daniela Montoya’s side in front at the half-hour mark before Real Madrid forward Linda Caicedo killed the game off in the 39th minute.

South Korean goalkeeper Young-Geul Yoon lent a helping hand as she spilt an otherwise routine catch, even though Caicedo’s effort from the edge of the box lacked power.

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