Football: No excuses from New Zealand coach Jitka Klimkova after embarrassing loss to Portugal

Football Ferns coach Jikta Klimkova did not hold back in her appraisal of Friday's defeat to Portugal, where New Zealand stumbled to a meek 5-0 defeat just months out from their own World Cup.

While a young New Zealand side could be forgiven for two heavy defeats against world champions USA last month, there were no excuses offered by the Football Ferns.

Up against a side only slightly ahead of them in FIFA's world rankings (22nd v 24th), the Football Ferns finished second in every category that mattered.

Portugal had the upper hand in shots (15 to six), shots on target (six to three), possession (59 to 41 percent) and passes (529 to 371).

Hannah Wilkinson against Portugal
Hannah Wilkinson against Portugal Photo credit: Getty Images

With less than two days before they return to the field, against Argentina at the same Hamilton venue, Klimkova's side will have to ask serious questions of themselves.

Just over five months remain until the Football World Cup, and the Football Ferns will have to get the better of at least one of Norway (ranked 13th) or Switzerland (21st) if they're to advance to the knockout stage.

But with both of those sides to be, on paper, a tougher ask than Portugal, the Football Ferns will have their work cut out for them come the World Cup.

For coach Klimkova, there was nothing to do but hold up her hands in acceptance her side wasn't up to standard as World Cup hosts.

"I have to say, I have to be really honest, to our fans, our plan was different," said Klimkova.

"We wanted to have a win, and we lost 5-0. We should be doing a better job.

"We should be possessing better, we should be defending better. So today was not good enough. We deserved to lose today."

Now, the team face a short turnaround to overcome any deep-lying issues.

Over the coming week, they'll face Argentina twice - a side ranked below them by FIFA's standings.

For midfielder Olivia Chance, though, the next challenge lies in proving they've learned the lessons of Friday's defeat, and becoming better as a result.

"Obviously, I'm not happy," said Chance. "I'm at home, and I want to play well. It's hard to come back to Hamilton and not put on a good performance.

"But it's about how we react now. You can always see these [results] as a bit of a wake-up call.

"There's so many things we can fix. It's going to be a fun 48 hours I think.

"A lot of those girls are disappointed. We let ourselves down. 

"Now it's about what we can do against Argentina, pick our heads up and go on [for] the next one."