Women's World Cup 2019: Football Ferns claim historic win over England in warm-up match

Sarah Gregorius after her goal against England.
Sarah Gregorius after her goal against England. Photo credit: Photosport

The Football Ferns have received a huge confidence boost before the FIFA Women's World Cup, claiming a historic 1-0 win over England in Brighton.

Sarah Gregorius' second-half strike was enough to propel New Zealand to their first-ever win over the world number three Lionesses on Sunday morning (NZ time).

The win is the first time a New Zealand football team has beaten England (male or female) at any level.

The Ferns had not beaten England from three attempts before this fixture. In 2010, they drew 0-0 at the Peace Queen Cup.

At the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, they went down 2-1 and in 2013, they lost 3-1 at the Cyprus Cup.

England dominated possession throughout against New Zealand, who are ranked 19th in the world, but they were unable to find a breakthrough.

Football Ferns coach Tom Sermanni praised his players for their courageous performance in the win.

"In the first half, we had to weather a significant storm from England, but we showed some great tenacity to see out the first half," the Scotsman explained. 

"In the second half, we had to do lots of defending, but structurally we looked good. Individually, the players' work rate was phenomenal." 

England had a plethora of scoring opportunities in the first half, with Jodie Taylor, Nikita Parris and Fran Kirby all constant threats on goal, but they failed to beat Kiwi goalkeeper Erin Nayler, who was later named player of the match.

New Zealand started the second half strongly and were rewarded in the 50th minute, as Gregorius scored her 34th goal for the Football Ferns, when England keeper Carly Telford spilt a shot and Gregorius reacted quickest to finish.

England continued to press for an equaliser, but failed to do so.

The Ferns have one more international friendly against Wales in three days' time, before they head to France for the FIFA Women's World Cup, where they will meet the Netherlands, Canada and Cameroon.