New Zealand eye first World Cup knockouts, injury blows for Norway and Germany

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New Zealand eye first World Cup knockouts, injury blows for Norway and Germany
New Zealand players in training
New Zealand players in training
Reuters
Co-hosts New Zealand are 90 minutes away from a historic first at the Women's World Cup no matter the result when they take on Switzerland in their final group game on Sunday.

Since the first edition in 1991, the hosts have always qualified for the knockout stages and New Zealand will advance if they win. Qualification will also mark the first time in six attempts they have reached the knockouts.

But with three points separating table toppers Switzerland and bottom side Norway, all four teams have a shot at qualifying for the last 16.

Tie-breaking criteria may come into play if New Zealand draw, depending on Norway's result against the Philippines, while a loss will definitely see the Football Ferns eliminated.

Norway, however, will be without injured striker Ada Hegerberg (28) after the Ballon d'Or winner failed to recover in time from a groin injury that saw her withdraw from the previous game before kickoff.

Germany and Colombia are top of Group H with three points each ahead of their clash on Sunday and the European side's quest for a third title was dealt another blow when they lost a third defender to injury.

Full back Felicitas Rauch (27) suffered a knee injury in training to join Giulia Gwinn (24) and Carolin Simon (30) on the sidelines but coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg believes others will step up.

"We know what type of backup options we have... We take some strength from that. We want to basically be in that mindset where it doesn't matter who's standing there on the actual pitch," she said.

Colombia had their own scare when teenaged striker Linda Caicedo (18) collapsed in training but coach Nelson Abadia said the teenager, who became the youngest player to score in the tournament, is fine.

"She was tired. She was a bit stressed as well, because she was playing in her first World Cup," Abadia said.

"It was just an episode, it's finished, it's over. We're quite happy about this, no problem."

Follow New Zealand's final group game with Flashscore.

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