Football Ferns' striker Hannah Wilkinson hopes to continue a remarkable personal record against the United States today.

The 25-year-old revels in the challenge of playing the No1-ranked nation in women's football - and it tends to show.

Goals are always rare versus the USA, but the previous four times that New Zealand has found the net against the world champions it has been courtesy of Wilkinson.

The last time someone other than Wilkinson was on the scoresheet against the Stars and Stripes, Helen Clark was Prime Minister, Lorde was as student at Belmont Intermediate school and Barack Obama was a ambitious but relatively unknown senator from Chicago.


Rebecca Smith scored in a 6-1 loss in Chicago in August 2007, but no Kiwi, other than Wilkinson, has managed the feat this decade.

"I try to score against any team but I get very excited when I play the USA," said Wilkinson. "I know how good they are - and how good they think they are as well. Going out there and scoring on them, it feels like 'okay, you are good but yeah you are not as good as you think you are'. Maybe it is that mentality."

Wilkinson's hunger and predatory instincts were illustrated last Saturday, when she risked a serious collision to be first to Ali Riley's cross, as she headed the Ferns back into the match.

"At the time I wasn't worried [about injury]", said Wilkinson. "I had my eyes square on the ball and I couldn't have cared less if I had a goalie glove to my head or anything. Once the ball is in your view that is all you ever think about. [But] I was pretty lucky."

Wilkinson knows about the power of the USA football machine better than most, after five years at the University of Tennessee,

"It's massive here ... the scale of the sport," said Wilkinson. "You think about how many people they have in America compared to us. The amount of players they have to choose from are endless and then they build them into athletes and incredible technical players with all that support. So I always have that in my mind; what can we do to upset your huge country right now?"

Wilkinson, who will win her 83rd cap (25 goals) for her country today, moved to Sweden in March, making her first foray into the professional game with Vittsjo GIK in the Damallsvenskan.

"The lifestyle of a professional soccer player is great," said Wilkinson "It's your job so you get time to recover and rest and can solely focus on always trying to get better."

The Ferns also want improvement today, after a credible disappointing 3-1 loss in Denver on Saturday.

"We need to be more patient on the ball and we will also have a different pressing strategy," said Wilkinson. "We have to choose our times to attack them and win that ball back without gassing ourselves basically."

The match kicks off at noon (NZT).