FIFA Women's World Cup gets under way in Auckland, New Zealand

Co-hosts New Zealand take on Norway in Auckland in the tournament opener on Thursday morning.

FIFA Women’s World Cup gets under way in Auckland, New Zealand SNS Group

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 has kicked off in Auckland as co-hosts New Zealand take on Norway at Eden Park.

The opener “proceeded as planned” after a shooting in the city’s central business district on Thursday morning left three people dead.

New Zealand took all three points against the 1995 champions with a 1-0 victory that was their first ever win at the tournament.

Hannah Wilkinson grabbed the winner at the start of the second-half and Ria Percival missed a late penalty to make it a tense finish for the home side.

Rangers goalkeeper Vic Esson kept a clean-sheet for New Zealand in her tournament debut.

Top stars including Australia’s Sam Kerr, who will miss the opening two games with a calf injury, USA’s Alex Morgan and England’s Alessia Russo will be battling out for the trophy in the ninth edition of the tournament.

Scotland failed to qualify after a heartbreaking playoff defeat to the Republic of Ireland at Hampden last year.

The Irish get their tournament underway later on Thursday as they take on the other co-hosts Australia in Sydney with an 11am (UK time) kick-off.

European champions England play their group opener on Saturday when the Lionesses come up against Haiti at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

New Zealand and Norway observed a moment of silence for the victims of Wednesday night’s shooting that police say was an “isolated incident”.

A FIFA statement revealed the decision was made to move forward with the match after consulting with New Zealand authorities and the participating teams, who have both confirmed players and staff are safe.

The FIFA release read: “FIFA extends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following the incident which occurred this morning in Auckland/Tamaki Makaurau, Aotearoa New Zealand, and our thoughts and prayers remain with those who have been injured in this tragic incident.

“Immediately following the incident, President Gianni Infantino and FIFA Secretary-General Fatma Samoura were in communication with the Aotearoa New Zealand authorities. FIFA has also been in constant contact with the participating teams affected by this incident.

“FIFA has been informed that this was an isolated incident that was not related to football operations and the opening match tonight at Eden Park will proceed as planned.

“The opening hours of the FIFA Fan Festival in Auckland/Tamaki Makaurau city centre will be confirmed in due course. The participating teams in close proximity to this incident are being supported in relation to any impact that may have taken place.”

Tournament favourites USA, who have won the previous two World Cups, will kick-off their defence of the trophy against Vietnam on Friday.

STV will be showing half the games, including the final, live on tv and STV Player, starting with the Matilda’s game against Ireland at the Stadium Australia on Thursday.

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