Football Ferns out of World Cup

Abby Erceg consoles Ali Riley after the match in Montpellier. Photo: Reuters
Abby Erceg consoles Ali Riley after the match in Montpellier. Photo: Reuters

The Football Ferns have been bounced out of the Fifa Women's World Cup in France, losing 2-1 to Cameroon in their final group match.

Ajara Nchout scored with the last kick of the game for Cameroon after the Ferns levelled the scores with an own-goal in the 80th minute on Friday morning (NZ time).

The loss at Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier left New Zealand with three defeats in France, their equal-worst showing at a World Cup, alongside the campaigns of 1991 and 2007.

The win for Cameroon in their Group E match sends them into the last 16.

Nchout, whose opener was cancelled out by Aurelle Awona's own goal 10 minutes from time, found the back of the net five minutes into stoppage time to put the African side on three points.

Cameroon go through as one of the four best third-placed teams. The result means Argentina are also knocked out of the tournament.

"I know the girls inside out, we’ve spent 10 years together. I know their strengths and weaknesses. I talk to them here and there," Cameroon coach Alain Djeumfa told a news conference.

"I told them 'I know you’ve taken a hit with the equaliser but keep your heads up and focus and do what’s necessary'. We’ve played against Canada, we’ve played against the team that’s top of the Group, we’ll play our best and look forward to what’s next."

Cameroon's Ajara Nchout scoring their first goal. Photo: Reuters
Cameroon's Ajara Nchout scoring their first goal. Photo: Reuters
Nchout opened the scoring 12 minutes into the second half, netting with a left-foot shot after dribbling past Abby Erceg.

All their efforts appeared to have counted for nothing when Awona deflected Katie Bowen's cross into her own net, the scoreline then meaning both teams were eliminated.

The Kiwis pushed hard as Cameroon looked increasingly shaky, but Nchout kept her cool deep into stoppage-time, beating Erin Nayler with a right-foot effort from inside the area. 

The Netherlands topped Group E with a maximum nine points after beating Canada, who ended with six points, 2-1 on Thursday (local time).

- Reuters and NZ Herald 

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