The Football Ferns have been beaten 3-1 by the United States in Denver.

The World Champions were superior in most facets of play against an inexperienced New Zealand outfit, and two well taken first half goals by midfielder Julie Ertz reflected their dominance.

But the Ferns stayed in the match - with goal keeper Erin Nayler preventing an Ertz hat-trick - and Hannah Wilkinson grabbed a deserved goal for New Zealand with 15 minutes to play.

It continued Wilkinson's remarkable run, who has now scored the last four goals netted by New Zealand against the United States.


But Alex Morgan re-established the American's two goal buffer in the 79th minute.

The Ferns had some half chances - mostly from set piece situations - but struggled against the No 1 ranked team on the planet.

Wilkinson had two opportunities midway through the second half, but the veteran forward couldn't make the most of them, before her brave headed effort.

The new look New Zealand team, missing a number of veterans including Abby Erceg and Katie Duncan (retired) and their all time record goal scorer Amber Hearn (unavailable), didn't lack for effort but struggled to retain possession for meaningful periods.

Instead they spent most of the match defending in numbers, struggling to deal with the ball speed and movement of the Americans.

It wasn't a surprise, given the disparity in experience between the two teams and the Ferns stated aim of using this tour as a platform to build for the future.

However, in the circumstances, the first American goal in the 16th minute was disappointing.

The Ferns had defended stoutly up to them, but switched off for a moment and paid the price.

Ertz was first to react to a flick on, after the ball was sent back into the area following a corner.

The Ferns failed to track Ertz's run, and the 25-year-old lashed the ball past Nayler from close range.

The Americans grew in confidence after that, and Ertz smashed home a second eight minutes later, again quickest to react after her teammate's header hit the post.

It could have opened the floodgates, but New Zealand held firm defensively, and came back into the match with Wilkinson's 75th minute goal, after an Ali Riley cross created havoc in the American penalty area.

United States 3 (J Ertz 2, A Morgan)
New Zealand 1 (H Wilkinson)​