The Football Ferns have crashed to a heavy defeat in their first match since the FIFA World Cup, beaten 3-0 by Chile in Santiago.
Veteran New Zealand striker Hannah Wilkinson was sent off to add to a disappointing outing for the world’s 26th ranked team, whose opponents are rated 15 places below them.
The visitors were reduced to 10 players when Wilkinson – who was a Football Ferns hero when she scored the only goal of the famous World Cup opening night win over Norway at Eden Park – appeared to hit the match official’s arm when she spun around aggressively after not being awarded a foul.
The result and performance were a come-down for the Football Ferns, who garnered enormous home support during the global tournament in July-August, which they co-hosted with Australia.
Chile’s goals at Estadio Bicentenario de La Florida all came before Wilkinson was sent off, scored by by Daniela Zamora and Yenna Acuna midway through the first half and by Yesenia Lopez soon after the interval.
The Football Ferns created chances throughout the contest but were often guilty of failing to find the target with their shots, one of several areas described as a shortcoming by head coach Jitka Klimková.
“Well, I know we can do better than that. That’s no doubt about it,” she said.
“We remember, it still fresh in our heads, how we performed during the World Cup and what we’ve seen today is not even close.
“It was a lot of mistakes, we gave the ball away even without the pressure. It was a lot of turnovers today and if you are giving the ball away, then of course you are on your back foot and you have to defend.
“Huge credit to Chile because they played really, really interesting and quick football that led to three goals and I have to say it’s a very strong team that we faced today.”
The teams will play a second match on Wednesday morning behind closed doors in Santiago.
By Radio NZ
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