The Best In The Women’s Football – New Zeland
Previous FIFA Women’s World Cup appearances: 1991
All-time best: 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage
Coach: Once of Newcastle United and Sunderland, John Herdman has worked in women’s football in New Zealand since 2003. Last March the Englishman was put in charge of all of New Zealand’s women’s national teams and given the task of making them among the best in the world.
Star player: 26-year-old captain and defensive linchpin Rebecca Smith grew up in the USA and played for several teams there before moving to Iceland, back to the USA and then to Germany. She now plays for Sunnana SK in Sweden.
The team: New Zealand are the unknown quantity of this World Cup, as they have been built practically from scratch. The U-20 side make up the core of the senior team and only two players are over 30. In their preparation for the tournament, the New Zealanders have suffered some heavy defeats.