Football: New Zealand kept scoreless, fall to Argentina in fifth straight pre-World Cup defeat

The Football Ferns have fallen to a third straight defeat of this FIFA international window and extended their winless run to eight matches before this year's World Cup at home.

On Thursday, New Zealand suffered a 1-0 defeat to Argentina at North Harbour Stadium, as striker Mariana Larroquette beat the Ferns' offside trap, and rounded goalkeeper Erin Nayler to score the only goal of the game.

The loss was the Football Ferns' final official confirmed match before this year's World Cup, but New Zealand could squeeze in to two more matches into FIFA's April window. 

They did come close to scoring, as veteran forward Hannah Wilkinson stabbed Gabi Rennie's cross wide of the post in the first half, a chance that would have put New Zealand 1-0 up.

Thursday's result leaves the Football Ferns without a win since September 2022, when they defeated the Philippines 2-1 in California.

But having described this month's run of fixtures, the Football Ferns are 0-3, with two losses to Argentina and one against Portugal. Argentina were ranked lower than the Football Ferns by FIFA's official standings, while Portugal were only two places above New Zealand - but still claimed an emphatic 5-0 victory.

On all occasions, the Football Ferns were held scoreless, with the New Zealand side under Jitka Klimkova now having gone five games without finding the back of the net.

"Obviously, again, the result didn't go our way, which is very disappointing," said Klimkova. 

"If I would take the positives from this game, I think specifically in the first half we improved our possession.

"We connected much better than in previous games, which was something we were focusing on, and we wanted to improve that in the game. 

"So that's something that I am taking from this game as an improvement and as a positive."

The Football Ferns' World Cup campaign begins on July 20, when they face Norway at Eden Park.

Argentina 1 (Larroquette) New Zealand 0