Co-hosts Australia and New Zealand kicked off the World Cup with victories on the opening day of the tournament.
The pair bring with them very different sets of expectations, with the Matildas amongst the favourites for the crown whilst the Football Ferns came seeking a first win on the world stage.
However, the day was overshadowed by the deadly shooting in Auckland, with a minute’s silence in memory of those killed held ahead of both matches.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the drama that unfolded as the World Cup finally got under way.
New Zealand stun Norway
Expectations for 1995 champions Norway are not what they once were, particularly in the wake of a group stage exit at Euro 2022 and an 8-0 mauling at the hands of England, but few anticipated them to fall to New Zealand at Eden Park.
But Jitka Klimkova’s underdogs delivered a memorable curtain raiser thanks to Hannah Wilkinson’s 48th-minute goal in front of more than 42,000 ecstatic supporters, a record for a football match in the country
It was the team’s 16th attempt at winning a match at the finals and could have been made sweeter had Ria Percival not struck a post from the penalty spot late on after handball was given against Tuva Hansen.
“The expectations, we will put those on ourselves first,” said goalscorer Wilkinson. “We’ll take momentum from this first win into the next game.
“It’s incredibly important that we secure a space outside of this group and we can do that in this next game.”
Battling display from Irish debutants
The Matildas were expected to have an easier ride than their co-hosts, but Ireland were in no mood to offer safe passage towards three points on their World Cup debut in Sydney.
It took a second-half penalty from Steph Catley to see off Vera Pauw’s newcomers, after Marissa Sheva shoved Hayley Raso to the ground.
Australia were missing Sam Kerr with the Chelsea forward also set to be absent for the next game against Nigeria, and struggled to break down the Republic during a first half of few chances.
Ireland manager Vera Pauw said: “Sam Kerr is of course one of, if not the top striker in the world so the fact that she did not play was a surprise for us but Australia have so many fast and attacking players that our game plan did not change because of that.”
Picture of the day
Quote of the day
Post of the day
— New Zealand Football (@NZ_Football) July 20, 2023
Group B: Nigeria v Canada (3.30am, Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne)
Group A: Philippines v Switzerland (6am, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin)
Group C: Spain v Costa Rica (8.30am, Regional Stadium, Wellington)