Football: Football Ferns 23-year drought continues with loss to Australia

By Michael Brown

Caitlin Foord celebrates a second goal with team mates during the women's international friendly match between the Australian Matildas and the New Zealand Football Ferns. Photo / Getty Images
Caitlin Foord celebrates a second goal with team mates during the women's international friendly match between the Australian Matildas and the New Zealand Football Ferns. Photo / Getty Images

The wait for the New Zealand women's football side will need to go on, for a few more days at least, after they were beaten 2-0 by Australia in Ballarat today.

The Football Ferns haven't beaten Australia in 23-years and never really threatened yesterday. They competed well for long periods but were undone by the pace and ruthlessness of the Australian attack and could not break down their uncompromising defence.

Caitlin Foord scored a brace for Australia, the world's fifth-ranked side who have ambitions of picking up a first Olympic football medal in Rio this year. New Zealand, ranked 16th, share similar ambitions but still have some way to go to consistently compete with the world's best sides. The two sides will meet again in Melbourne on Tuesday, when the Socceroos also take on Greece at Etihad Stadium in a double header.

It will be the Football Ferns' final game before the Rio Olympics, where they have been drawn in a tough group with the US (ranked No 1), France (3) and Colombia (24).
Today's game marked the 100th cap for fullback Ali Riley, the fifth New Zealander to achieve the milestone, and she had a busy afternoon trying to keep Australia in check.

Foord, who was the youngest Australian ever to play at a Fifa World Cup when she was 16 at the 2011 women's tournament, opened the scoring in the fifth minute when she hit a low cross through a host of bodies in the box and past goalkeeper Erin Nayler.

The 21-year-old right winger, whose pace caused New Zealand problems all match, scored a second just after halftime when played one-on-one with Nayler, who had a busy afternoon.

The Football Ferns scrambled well and created some chances with Katie Bowen having one of the better ones on the half hour when she met a cross from the right with a volley but couldn't find the top corner.

Australia 2 (C. Foord 5, 51) New Zealand 0. Halftime: 1-0.

- NZ Herald

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