New Zealand are heading to the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup for the first time in their history after defeating 2018 hosts Uruguay 2-1 in front of nearly 6,000 spectators in Montevideo on Friday.
The Kiwis had to work for the three points, as they came from behind after going down 1-0 in the eighth minute when Belen Aquino tapped in a rebound after Esperanza Pizarro’s initial shot hit the crossbar.
The side from Oceania responded by scoring two goals from second chances before half-time. Grace Wisnewski equalised in the 26th minute, tapping in from close range. Kelli Brown then scored her second goal of the tournament with a strike nearly identical to Wisnewski’s opener.
The hosts threw everything forward in the closing stages of the match, with coach Ariel Longo moving to a back three at the end of the match, and throwing on more attacking players in search of an equaliser.
However, that equalising goal never came and New Zealand sealed an historic three points, which sees them through to the last eight alongside Ghana in Group A.