Football Ferns pull off surprise draw with Brazil
The Football Ferns have pulled off a spectacular 1-1 draw with Brazil through a late Rosie White equaliser at Mt Smart Stadium tonight.
The 21-year-old replacement showed pinpoint accuracy with a diving header after latching onto a brilliant cross delivered by Hannah Wilkinson in the 85th minute
Almost 2000 supporters turned out on a miserable Auckland evening to watch the Ferns take on the sixth-ranked Brazilians, who only arrived in the country on Saturday after drawing 0-0 with France three days prior.
New Zealand played defensively and controlled much of the possession in the opening 20 minutes.
Wilkinson was instrumental on attack and proved a menace down the right flank early with Betsy Hassett also strong in centre field - the Manchester City midfielder snuffed out a number of attacks and directed well.
But Brazil soon found their rhythm.
Cristiane Rozeira S. Silva struck a shot low and hard outside of the box, forcing keeper Erin Nayler to dive to her right for a magnificent save.
In reply the Ferns were inches away from grabbing the lead after a cross from defender Ria Percival was headed by Wilkinson to just scrape over the cross bar in the 37th minute.
But after sustained pressure Brazil grabbed the opening goal in the 42nd minute after a corner kick from Miraildes Maciel Mota was deflected off the corner post with striker Cristiane duly delivering.
Wilkinson almost struck back immediately but her shot on goal was deflected.
The second half proved a lot more physical with yellow cards handed out to both Katie Hoyle and Brazil's Miraildes for dangerous tackles.
The Brazilian defence held well despite waves of New Zealand attack, including yet another Wilkinson shot hitting the crossbar.
White had replaced Sarah Gregorius in the 67th minute and the UCLA forward didn't disappoint, her goal ending a personal nine-month scoring drought.
The teams head to Taupo for their second and final match on Thursday.