17 Nov 2018

NZ upset Uruguay to grab under-17 World Cup knockout spot

2:58 pm on 17 November 2018

New Zealand have beaten hosts Uruguay 2-1 to qualify for the quarter-finals of the under-17 Women's World Cup for the first time.

Kelli Brown

Kelli Brown Photo: Photosport

Uruguay snatched the early lead in Montevideo with an eighth-minute goal to Belen Aquino, but the New Zealanders hit back when Grace Wisnewski equalised in the 26th minute, tapping in from close range.

Ten minutes later, Kelli Brown scored her second goal of the tournament with a strike nearly identical to Wisnewski's opener.

Although New Zealand out-shot Uruguay by 14 attempts to seven and created far more chances, coach Leon Birnie felt the result could have been different on another day.

"It was an absolute battle out there today, and it could have gone either way if I'm honest," he said.

"I'm just glad that we could keep working through it but credit to Uruguay, it's a shame they haven't progressed out of the group because it's been a brilliant tournament.

"It's historic for us because we'd never got out of the pool play - I'm just so proud of the girls."

It was New Zealand's second win of the tournament after an opening 1-0 victory over Finland four days ago, and means they are through to the last eight alongside Ghana in Group A.

Their final match in group play is against Ghana next Wednesday.