By Aaron Hindhaugh •
Published: 15 Jun 2023 • 19:30
Switzerland fans on the way to a football match
Co-hosts of this summer’s Women’s World Cup, New Zealand, will be counting their lucky stars when looking at their group given how poor it could have been.
Considering that New Zealand are at least one of the hosts this summer, they were instantly put into Pot 1, which meant that, while they avoided teams such as the USA, Australia, Frace and England, they could have still got Olympic champions Canada and former World Cup winners Japan.
Instead, Group A looks more like New Zealand, Norway and debutants at the competition, the Philippines and also Switzerland, which likely mean the co-hosts won’t start as favourites, but a deeper look shows how they do indeed have a chance.
On first look, Switzerland and Norway will indeed be penned in as favourites, especially when the latter has Guro Reiten coming off one of her best personal seasons in a Chelsea shirt last season and also looking to avenge their disappointment from last summer.
The Scandinavians were thrashed and knocked out of Euro 2022 last summer by England after getting hammered 8-0 down on the south coast, and with the return of Ada Hegerberg they will indeed be a force to be reckoned with, although their flaws at the back could easily be found out with some pace.
In terms of Switzerland, they could be seen as the second favourites for the group with the likes of Ramona Bachman, Alisha Lehman – who had a surprisingly solid season with Aston Villa – and captain Lia Walti.
‘Snake hips’ as she’s known by the Arsenal fan base will likely be key to how well Switzerland do at just their second World Cup, so the inexperience could well be what New Zealand look to capitalise on.
New Zealand will have to rely a lot on their home crowd to create a raucous atmosphere and help push them over the line because their form in 2023 has been nothing short of shocking with the Football Ferns still yet to win in 2023.
The hopes of New Zealand progressing will likely rest on the shoulders of veteran Hannah Wilkinson who’s made over 100 appearances for the Football Ferns while getting 27 times in the process.
A shout-out must go to the Philippines though, because while they have very little chance of progressing out of Group A, just the fact that they have managed to qualify for this summer’s tournament is an incredible achievement for them and Women’s football in Asia.
If you are enjoying our coverage at Euro Weekly News then remember to stay tuned for exclusive Women’s World Cup content from myself out in Australia this summer!
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Qualified and experienced journalist covering all aspects of news and sport. Specialist in both Men's and Women's football with increasing coverage of golf and tennis.
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