Football: NZ women held to scoreless draw by lowly Thailand at Christchurch

Ally Green reflects on disappointing draw with Thailand.
Ally Green reflects on disappointing draw with Thailand. Photo credit: Photosport

Three days after dominating their opponents in their opening encounter, the Football Ferns have been held to a scoreless draw by Thailand - a team ranked 19 spots below them on FIFA world rankings.

Replacement Kate Kitching scored a goal double, as the NZ women overwhelmed the visitors 4-0 on Saturday, but their attack dried up in the return match at Christchurch's Apollo Projects Stadium.

Riding a slightly flattering six-game winning streak, after outclassing their opponents during the Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament, the 28th-ranked Ferns were unable to find the back of the net, as the Thai team made the necessary adjustments.

"We wanted more today," admitted coach Jitka Klimkova. "We played really good football on Saturday and wanted to see more of things that worked against Thailand.

"I have to give Thailand credit. They really took their game analysis and review, and were really more prepared for us, but that should not stop us with our goals that we had to work on our strengths."

New Zealand tried to flick the switch at halftime, but were still unable to crack the Thai defence.

"Our defensive shape and aggressive 1v1 defending... that was something we said that we needed to tidy up and a little bit of urgency. It was obvious the first and second half were different.

"In the second half, we created 30 crosses - in the first half, we created 18 crosses. You could see the difference between the first and second halves."

Jacqui Hand misses a shot against Thailand.
Jacqui Hand misses a shot against Thailand. Photo credit: Photosport

The NZ women have traditionally struggled to score against world class teams, but the Oceania tournament and game one of this series offered some hope that they had overcome that mental block.

They outshot their opponents 22-1, with seven on target, and forced nine corners, but could not convert.

"It is our job to find a way to score," said Klimkova. "In 2024, our aim is to get our quality better.

"We scored 32 goals in Samoa, we scored four against Thailand in our first game and we just need to be more consistent with our quality. We can execute, we can have good decisions, so for us, the key is to keep working on those things and tidy it up, so we can be more consistent."

New Zealand 0 Thailand 0