PREVIEW: New Zealand v Norway – FIFA Women’s World Cup Team News, Predicted Lineups and Where to Watch

This is the one everybody’s been waiting for. As co-hosts of this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, New Zealand will be involved in the opening day action as they host Norway at Eden Park. For the Football Ferns, this will be their sixth appearance at the competition – having failed to qualify for three consecutive tournaments in 1995, 1999 and 2003.

This will be Norway’s ninth appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, as the Grasshoppene have appeared at every edition of the tournament thus far. They’ve been successful too – finishing as runners-up in 1991 before lifting the elusive trophy four years later. Since then though, they’ve only reached the final four twice and have suffered painful early eliminations in 2011 and 2015.

New Zealand will never be a footballing nation, with rugby by far the preferred sport – but nonetheless, the Football Ferns will look to give the country a team to get behind. Home advantage could play a crucial role throughout the next month, and a bumper crowd for the tournament opener could enable a shock result over a Scandinavian giant.

For Norway, this is a must-win game. Since their group-stage exit in 2011, the Grasshoppene have reached the round-of-sixteen and the quarterfinals – they’ll be desperate to go one step further this summer and break into the final four for the first time since 2007.

Hege Riise’s side certainly have the resources to do just that. With the likes of Guro Reiten, Ingrid Syrstad Engen, Frida Maanum and Vilde Bøe Risa pulling the strings in midfield, it should be fairly easy to get Ada Hegerberg and Caroline Graham Hansen firing up front.

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Team News

Both sides have their entire squads available for this fixture, with no injury doubts for either side. Norway’s side is undoubtedly stronger on paper – and if they can find their usual rhythm, they should cruise to a fairly comfortable victory in Auckland on Thursday.

Predicted lineups

New Zealand: Esson; Riley, Bowen, Stott, Bott; Percival, Steinmetz, Hassett; Hand, Wilkinson, Jale

Norway: Fiskerstrand; T. Hansen, Harviken, Mjelde, Bjelde; Bøe Risa, Engen; Reiten, Maanum, C G Hansen; Hegerberg

Where can I watch?

Kickoff at Eden Park is scheduled for 8am UK time on Thursday, 20 July 2023. The coverage will begin at 07:30 on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. If you’re unable to watch the match, fear not – we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes of the final whistle.

FromTheSpot will be bringing you coverage of every game throughout the FIFA Women’s World Cup, including previews and detailed reports. We’ll cover games in the buildup to the tournament too, so you can get a feel for the potential favourites ahead of action getting underway in Australia and New Zealand.

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