Switzerland will cap off their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Group Stage campaign on Sunday morning, as they face New Zealand in Dunedin. Ahead of kickoff, these two sides are set to progress from the group stages – but the Philippines and Norway are equally able to qualify for the knockout rounds.
With both places still up for grabs, both la Nati and the Football Ferns will look to grab an early goal or two – as a win would confirm their progression. In such a close group, goal difference could prove to be vital, though I’d expect a fairly close-fought encounter between these two sides.
New Zealand pulled off one of the shocks of the tournament on the opening day, as they stunned Norway in front of a bumper crowd at Eden Park. The Grasshoppene have been well off the pace throughout the tournament thus far, with Hege Riise’s side like a unit of eleven disjointed individuals rather than a team capable of challenging for the world title.
Still, New Zealand’s win came as a surprise – though they weren’t able to add another three points to their tally against the Philippines. In that match, Sarina Bolden netted the minnows’ first goal at a FIFA Women’s World Cup, clinching a monumental victory for las Filipinas in the process.
After their opening day win, New Zealand would perhaps have been expected to take the win in that match – but a defeat leaves the group wide open and is set to ensure the final day is a memorable one.
As for Switzerland, they cruised to victory against the Philippines in their opening game. A goalless draw against a struggling Norwegian side put pay to their hopes of a guaranteed spot in the round-of-sixteen, as they’re left to combat the thousands of New Zealanders who will form the crowd in Dunedin on Sunday.
Switzerland will look for another impressive performance from Gaëlle Thalmann, who has formed a seemingly impenetrable wall in the Swiss goalmouth. The ‘keeper has yet to concede a goal at this tournament, and she’ll look to keep that record going against New Zealand.
New Zealand’s hopes ride firmly on the shoulders of Jacqui Hand, who scored the historic tournament-opening goal against Norway – and it looked as though the 24-year-old had restored parity against the Philippines, but for a raised offside flag to spoil the celebrations.
Olivia Chance impressed as a substitute against the Philippines, and Jitka Kimková may be tempted to name her in the starting lineup in this winner-takes-all final fixture.
Switzerland: Thalmann; Aigbogun, Maritz, Stierli, Riesen; Sow, Wälti, Reuteler; Piubel, Bachmann, Crnogorčević
New Zealand: Esson; Bott, Stott, Bowen, A. Riley; Percival, Steinmetz, Hassett; Chance, Hand, Wilkinson
Where can I watch?
Kick-off in Dunedin is scheduled for 8:00am UK time on Sunday, 30th July. The coverage will begin at 7:30am on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. If you’re unable to watch the match, fear not – we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes on the final whistle.