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Women’s World Cup: Norway dismantle Philippines to qualify for knockout stage, New Zealand set unwanted feat

Despite an abysmal start to their 2023 Women’s World Cup campaign, Norway snatched a coveted runner-up finish in Group A at the 11th hour.

The Grasshoppers kicked things off in Group A with an underwhelming 1-0 loss to co-hosts New Zealand before sharing the spoils with Switzerland in a tepid 0-0 draw.

Heading into the group-stage finale, manager Hege Riise knew anything but a victory against the Philippines would rule her side out of the Women’s World Cup knockout phase for the first time since 2011.

But Norway excelled when it mattered the most, steamrolling to a morale-boosting 6-0 win over the Asian minnows at New Zealand’s national stadium Eden Park to progress into the round of 16.

Riise’s team had a significant helping hand from Switzerland, who held New Zealand to an uneventful scoreless draw in the other Group A fixture, condemning them to an early exit.

Despite upsetting the apple cart on day one, ‘Football Ferns’ have paid the ultimate price for their lacklustre attacking showings to become the first-ever Women’s World Cup host nation to bow out in the group phase.

Jitka Klimkova’s ladies finished their tournament adventure level on points with second-place Norway, but after back-to-back scoring blanks, they’ve made an unwanted piece of history.

In Group H, Morocco squeezed past South Korea 1-0 at Adelaide’s Coopers Stadium to reinforce their hopes of securing knockout qualification against the odds.

Ibtissam Jraidi’s sixth-minute strike inspired the African nation to their maiden win at the Women’s World Cup, lifting their spirits ahead of a day-three clash against group leaders Colombia.

With nothing but a goal difference separating Morocco from runners-up Germany, the Lionesses of Atlas have everything to play for in their final group game.

However, Germany remain in the driver’s seat to make it out of the group stage despite slumping to a nail-biting 2-1 defeat to Colombia earlier today as they meet out-of-sorts South Korea in Group H’s finale.

All three goals came in the second half, with DFB-Frauenteam hauling back a one-goal deficit in the 89th minute, only to concede again deep into stoppage time.

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