Katrine Pedersen and Cathrine Paaske Sorensen scored off set plays to lead Denmark to a 2-0 win over New Zealand yesterday in a match between the two teams in the bottom half of Group D.
Denmark controlled the pace and the ball for most of the game, but did not score until a free kick in the 61st minute after Maiken Pape was brought down in the box as she made for goal.
New Zealand keeper Jenny Bindon got her hand on the ball, but was not able to block Pedersen's shot into the top left corner.
Paaske Sorensen added another five minutes later, using her head to knock in a free kick that Pedersen sent across the penalty box.
The game got off to a slow start, with neither team able to string together more than a few passes for the first 15 minutes. But Denmark took control soon after, repeatedly attacking with long passes toward the goal.
Their best chance of scoring in the first half came in the 18th minute, when Paaske Sorensen's long range shot ricocheted off the crossbar. The midfielder's leaping header seven minutes later sailed over the bar.
New Zealand, who had three teenagers in their starting eleven, were unable to create a significant offensive threat and the game was mostly played in the Kiwis' half.
Like in their 5-0 loss to Brazil, New Zealand successfully defended against quicker opponents for the first part of the game. But the team eventually ran out of gas and gave up late goals.
Denmark play Brazil on Wednesday in a must-win game if they are to have any chance of advancing to the quarter-finals. New Zealand are already eliminated and have a final match against China.
Denmark played without head coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller on the bench. FIFA announced hours before the game that he was suspended for two games for "physical contact" with an assistant referee at the end of the match against China last Wednesday.
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