The Football Ferns have suffered their second-straight defeat at the Women's World Cup in France after being outclassed 2-0 by Canada, leaving their hopes of progressing to the round of 16 hanging by a thread.
New Zealand face a must-win encounter against Cameroon in their final group game in France on Friday (NZ time), which is a tough ask for the 19th-ranked side who have never won a World Cup match or progressed from the group stages of this tournament.
Tom Sermanni's side is sitting joint bottom of Group E with two defeats, but could still progress to the knockout rounds with a win over Cameroon as one of the best third-placed teams if other results go their way.
After being denied a crucial point in their opener against the Netherlands by a heart-breaking late goal, the Ferns went into the clash against Canada with plenty of confidence, but they couldn't convert any of the limited chances they had in the match.
Canada finished the match with 70 percent possession and 24 shots on goal, while the Ferns had just to shots in the entire match.
The scores were locked at 0-0 at halftime after some resilient defence by New Zealand prevented Canada from scoring. Canada's best chance in the first half came when Christine Sinclair hit the crossbar with a header.
But Canada took the lead early in the second half when Jessie Fleming opened the scoring, before Nichelle Prince scored their second in the 79th minute.
Canada have now qualified for the knockout stage, while the Ferns' only hope of progressing as one of the four best-ranked third-placed teams.
"We were outplayed by a better team on the night," said Sermanni.
"We never really got into any kind of rhythm tonight and didn't get into any situations where we seemed to win things to get momentum.
"We'll go back to what we talked about at the start, which is that we've got three games and we now have to try to win the next one. Hopefully, that might be enough to get to the round of 16."
Adding insult to injury, New Zealand will likely be without CJ Bott for their match against Cameroon in Montpellier, after the defender let the field in the first half with a wrist injury.