New Zealand were perennial underdogs at the Women’s World Cup, becoming the first ever team to go 15 matches without a win.
They looked to change that record on Thursday when they hosted a Norwegian team aiming to go one better than their last quarter-final appearance.
But it was an incredibly balanced first half, with the home team slightly inching towards progress.
The soccer ferns never troubled Aurora Mikalsen in goal for Norway, but she looked dangerous while Ada Hegerberg failed to show her class in the final third.
But New Zealand took the lead right after the break.
A neat move down the right saw Hannah Wilkinson with space in the area and she slotted home comfortably for the opening goal of the tournament.
It was nearly two o’clock when Mikalsen produced a brilliant save from Indiah-Paige Riley’s rasping effort.
Looking at the barrel of the opening defeat, Norway finally pulled themselves together and decided to play.
And they almost equalized late on when Guro Reiten sent a goal-bound effort that crashed back onto the crossbar.
The result should have been secured late on as Rea Percival earned a penalty but fired against the post.