FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup record
New Zealand boasts a long association with the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and France 2018 will mark their seventh successive appearance. Russia 2006 was New Zealand’s first FIFA women’s tournament for 15 years and saw the Junior Football Ferns secure their debut point with a draw against a strong Brazil side. Two years later in Chile, they were seconds from becoming the first male or female New Zealand side to reach the knockout stage of a FIFA tournament, only to be denied by an injury-time England equaliser. New Zealand earned maiden qualification for the knockout stage at Canada 2014 with two group-stage wins for the first time. There was another notable showing at Japan 2012 as the Kiwis unluckily missed progressing despite earning four points, including a draw against the hosts. Two years ago in Papua New Guinea, the Kiwis defeated Ghana but failed to advance from a tough group featuring finalists France and semi-finalists USA.

The road to France
New Zealand won the Oceania qualifying tournament by maintaining a perfect record with five straight wins on home soil. With traditional challengers Papua New Guinea failing to fire, the Junior Football Ferns cruised through the round-robin tournament five points clear of Fiji, conceding just one goal in the process.

The coach
Gareth Turnbull boasts a strong connection with women’s football in New Zealand and has coached all three national teams over the past two years. After enjoying ongoing success in the national league with Mainland Pride, Turnbull was appointed coach of the youngest New Zealand national team in 2015, leading them to the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan. He then assumed the U-20 reins guiding the side through their July 2017 qualifying campaign. Turnbull was appointed senior national team co-coach on an interim basis late in 2017 following the resignation of Tony Readings.

The stat
9.6
– New Zealand’s goal-per-game average during Oceania qualifying, having scored 48 goals in just five matches.