The Football Ferns’ historic upset over Norway has left them hungry for more milestones at this Fifa Women’s World Cup.
New Zealand stopped the nation on Thursday night when they beat the world No 12-ranked side 1-0 at Eden Park. Some players described the victory as the best night of their lives.
Katie Bowen, who is playing at her fourth major tournament, said never in her 12 years with the team has she received this much support and positivity.
And although she’s soaking up the signature and photo requests and just “living in the moment”, the 29-year-old has had time to switch focus towards New Zealand’s next game against the Philippines.
The Ferns, who were back on the park this weekend after a day off on Friday, were grateful to get the legs moving.
“You have that off day then the second day is where I feel it the most,” Bowen said as some teammates were managing loads.
In the past, the veteran has typically played in the midfield for New Zealand, however on Thursday, she played a full 90 minutes as centre back and was key to shutting out Norway’s threatening frontline of Ada Hegerberg and Guro Reiten.
Bowen said apart from the usual tightness after a full match, she’s feeling “really good” and “confident” for the next match.
Reflecting on the “indescribable night” Bowen said: “That’s not what we just came here to do.”
“That was an absolutely brilliant, and great start to get three points but [they’re] focused on Wellington.
“It’s full focus on the Philippines.”
Though lowest-ranked in the group at 46, the South-East Asian nation will be no easybeats. They fell just 2-0 to Switzerland (20) in their first pool match, and lost 2-1 to New Zealand in September - after leading at the break.
Bowen pleaded to Wellington fans - knowing it’s described as the football capital of New Zealand - to get behind the team, and give them a similar reception to what they received on opening night at Eden Park.
“That result was - I know it sounds corny - but honestly because of the crowd. The way that they were rallying us every second of the game was unbelievable and kind of the positivity following on from that.
“Going from the record of 12,000 to 42,000 it just shows how much the country is getting behind us and behind the sport and women’s football in general which is ultimately our goal - we want to inspire the next generation.”
The unpredictable Wellington weather isn’t looking great for Tuesday, which is something the Ferns are equally preparing for but not fearing.
“Wind, rain whatever, we’ll deal with it,” Bowen said.