Women’s World Cup Prediction: Norway vs. New Zealand Women – July 20, 2023
WOMEN’S WORLD CUP PREDICTION: NORWAY VS. NEW ZEALAND WOMEN – July 20, 2023 — This is redemption time for Norway, as the Grasshoppers flamed out at their last major international tournament.
The Norwegians entered the 2022 Women’s Euros with high expectations, after reaching the last eight at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. However, an 8-0 loss to England left the Scandinavians third in their group and asking plenty of questions.
But playing at home hasn’t exactly been a tonic for New Zealand over the past two years, so any winner here will get a huge confidence boost.
Norway vs. New Zealand Women – Match Preview
- When: Thursday, July 20th at 3 a.m. EDT
- Where: Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
- Spread: Norway -1.5/New Zealand +1.5
But while Norway has struggled in UEFA competitions, the Grasshoppers tend to enjoy better fortunes further afield. Over their past four international tournaments, Norway has gone 1-8-1 against other European sides and 4-0-1 against non-European squads. That bodes well for their chances against New Zealand, even with the added factor of this technically being an away match.
It’s been eight years since Ada Hegerberg made her presence known at the Women’s World Cup, as she skipped the 2019 event over protests regarding the Norwegian Football Federation’s treatment of its female players. Since 2015, she’s proven herself one of the best players in the world, and her return to the national team has made Norway a respected side again.
But the Grasshoppers have proven rather inconsistent over the past two seasons. There have been encouraging signs, such as draws with England and France, but there’s also been a 4-1 hammering against Brazil. Norway has two top scorers up front with Caroline Graham Hansen joining Hegerberg, but the defense is a concern.
Scouting New Zealand
The Football Ferns have played seven matches on home soil over the past two years, and they’ve gone 0-6-1 while getting outscored 19-1. Two of those defeats (vs the United States) weren’t much of a surprise, but New Zealand also lost to Portugal — a nation sitting below Norway in the world rankings.
As for the personnel, New Zealand has gone young in a big way, and that might be a problem here. Of the strikers and midfielders, only Hannah Wilkinson (28 goals) and Betsy Hassett (14) have scored more than twice for the national side.
Most of NZ’s players compete in the Australian or New Zealander leagues, so they haven’t seen most of the world’s best players regularly. Three of the Football Ferns — Gabi Rennie, Ava Collins and Murphy Sheaff — compete for American college teams, giving you an idea of this side’s youth.
Norway vs. New Zealand Women – Match Bets
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Norway Win to Nil (+110)
Norway’s defense is a worry, but New Zealand hasn’t shown much of anything in the way of attack. The Football Ferns are on a 10-match winless streak and have lost eight of those matches to nil. Plus, Norway knows it’s likely in a battle with Switzerland to top Group A and avoid facing a likely meeting with Spain in the Round of 16. The Grasshoppers will be going all out to post a solid number and avoid conceding a goal.
Norway to Score in Both Halves (-110)
It’s likely going to take a few minutes for Norway to get rolling, but once it does, it’s likely to have things under control. The Grasshoppers do most of their damage in the second half, but with Hegerberg up top, Norway has the most dangerous player in the group and should be able to find a goal in the first half as well as the second.
As long as Norway can stand up to expectations, a winning start should be in order. New Zealand’s recent history says this probably isn’t going to be a banner day for the host nation.
Granted, the Football Ferns aren’t the weakest side in this group (that ‘honor’ goes to the Philippines). However, a decent run looks unlikely. Expect a fairly comfortable scoreline for Norway, with a 3-0 win at +575 the best value play.