New Zealand Women’s World Cup Squad revealed for the 2023 tournament

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Jitka Klimkova, the coach of New Zealand, expressed that the ‘Football Ferns’ will fiercely represent their nation at the Women’s World Cup, which they are co-hosting with Australia. 

She announced the 23-woman squad for the tournament on Friday. The chosen players were presented with their playing shirts at a ceremony held at Eden Park, where New Zealand will have their first match against Norway, the champions of 1995, on July 20th.

Ali Riley, the defender who was not present for her club in the United States, will be the captain of the team alongside Ria Percival, a midfielder who has recovered from a severe knee injury to be part of the squad. 

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New Zealand’s goals for the tournament are not overly ambitious, as they aim to secure their first victory in six editions of the prestigious women’s football event. However, Klimkova assured that they will not hold back in their efforts.

“I know what it means for them to put the shirt on and they will fight,” said the Czech.

“They will fight for the country, they will fight for New Zealand, they want to make the country proud.”

Milly Clegg, a 17-year-old striker, has quickly risen in the ranks and has been included in the New Zealand squad as they seek to improve their attacking prowess after failing to score in six of their last seven matches. 

Annalie Longo, a midfielder, has also fought her way back from a knee injury to make the team, while defender Rebekah Stott has faced the most challenging journey to the World Cup after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2021. 

The New Zealand men’s rugby coach, Ian Foster, and his wife were present to present their daughter Michaela Foster, who plays in defense, with her shirt. One notable absence from the squad is experienced defender Meikayla Moore, who will be on standby along with two other players in case of injuries. 

The Football Ferns have one more friendly match against Vietnam on July 10th in Napier, where they will aim to end a 10-match winless streak.

“This team is always looking for what can we learn how can we grow together doesn’t matter about the result,” Klimkova added.

“We’ve worked bloody hard to make sure that we are ready for our amazing opportunity.”

New Zealand Women’s World Cup Squad

Goalkeepers: Victoria Esson, Anna Leat, Erin Nayler

Defenders: Liz Anton, CJ Bott, Katie Bowen, Claudia Bunge, Michaela Foster, Ali Riley, Rebekah Stott, Daisy Cleverley

Midfielders: Olivia Chance, Betsy Hassett, Annalie Longo, Ria Percival, Malia Steinmetz

Forwards: Milly Clegg, Jacqui Hand, Grace Jale, Hannah Wilkinson, Gabi Rennie, Indiah-Paige Riley, Paige Satchell

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