This Friday’s Group B meeting between England and New Zealand in Dresden already has a must-win character for both sides. The teams set out on their FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™ campaigns with lofty ambitions, but England were held to a 1-1 draw by Mexico in their opening match, and New Zealand fell to a narrow defeat against seeded Japan.
New Zealand’s two previous appearances at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, in 1991 and 2007, yielded no points from a total of six matches, and the Football Ferns have yet to break their duck this time around. John Herdman’s team urgently need to get off the mark in their second game at this summer’s tournament, and ideally need a win over England to retain realistic hopes of a place in the quarter-finals.
However, the highly-fancied Europeans also made a disappointing start to their campaign, opening brightly but fading badly against the energetic Mexicans. Hope Powell and her team now face the Football Ferns for the first time at a FIFA Women’s World Cup. The sides last met at the Peace Cup in Korea Republic back in October 2010, an encounter which finished goalless.
2003 - Englishman John Herdman left his home country for New Zealand eight years ago, with a brief to accelerate progress in the women’s game. He now sends his side into battle with the representatives of his country of birth.
"I think it will be tough again on Friday. But if we can put the things right that we didn't get quite right in the first match, we can get the result we want," England defender Sophie Bradley
"Six points is what we're after in the next two games, although England are very tough opponents. They’re one of the best teams at the World Cup and we’re expecting a tough test, but my girls are up for it," New Zealand coach John Herdman