Football Fever Took Hold of New Zealand
It was a fairy-tale beginning. In front of a noisy crowd of more than 40,000 fans at Eden Park in Auckland, the Football Ferns – the lowest-ranked team to host a Women’s World Cup – kicked off the tournament with a surprise 1-0 win against Norway, Wairoa-based freelance journalist Anna Rankin reports in a story published by The Guardian.
On a biting winter night, the opening ceremony was a spectacle befitting the momentous occasion for New Zealand, a nation known more for rugby, Rankin writes.
Jerrica Tomlinson and Anne Hellaby, both football rookies, were, like many, there “to support the women – any women”, they said.
Kombe Kampanga and Laura Huijser, two young women new to football, Kampanga draped in a New Zealand flag, said that while neither had been born in New Zealand, this was their country, their team. The fact it was women playing was the final clincher.
Original article by Anna Rankin, The Guardian, July 20, 2023.