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Co-hosts New Zealand win at last in timely World Cup boost

New Zealand broke their 10-game winless run on Monday with a confidence-boosting 2-0 friendly victory over Vietnam on the eve of co-hosting the Women’s World Cup. 

The Football Ferns shrugged off a miserable sequence of eight defeats and two draws dating back to September by dominating the Vietnamese in Napier.

“We all stepped up and I’m proud of the girls. To get a clean sheet and a win was good,” said New Zealand captain and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Ria Percival.

New Zealand, who host the World Cup with Australia, kick off the tournament against Norway in Auckland on July 20.

Vietnam face reigning champions the United States in the same city two days later.

New Zealand created a string of chances before a long-range shot by Leicester City defender CJ Bott took a slight deflection off a Vietnamese defender.

The home side doubled their lead after forward Jacqui Hand was served up a simple tap-in at the back post just before half-time.

“The first half was an incredible performance with a lot of good combination play, which we were working on,” said New Zealand coach Jitka Klimkova.

“So seeing how we played and having this result is very helpful with our confidence to go further and be more prepared for our first game at the World Cup.”

The Kiwis also face the Philippines and Switzerland in World Cup group A.

Along with the Americans, Vietnam also play 2019 finalists the Netherlands and Portugal in Group E.

The Vietnamese have a final warm-up game against Spain in New Zealand on Sunday.

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