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New Zealand win first match of Women’s World Cup, hours after gunman killed 2 in Auckland shooting

PorSam Miller

Jul 20, 2023

New Zealand opened the Women’s World Cup with a thrilling upset over Norway on Thursday, just hours after a gunman entered a construction site near a team hotel and tragically shot two people to death.

The emotional day for one of the tournament’s host nations began when police said a 24-year-old gunman entered a construction site in Auckland at around 7:30am local time. He suspect opened fire in a building, killing two people and wounding five more, including an officer who was wounded during the crossfire.

Police officers cordon off an area near the site of a shooting on July 20, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. Three people, including the attacker, have been killed and six others injured after a shooting in Auckland as the city prepares for the opening match of the women’s soccer world cup. (Fu Tian/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)

The shooting took place near the Norway team hotel and not far from the Eden Park stadium, according to multiple reports.


Despite the tragic events that unfolded just hours before the Football Ferns were to take the field, a storied crowd gathered to watch what would be New Zealand’s first victory in the Women’s World Cup.

«I think everyone was quite taken aback, because this doesn’t really happen in New Zealand,» defender Katie Bowen said after the 1-0 win. «But I think, especially on a game day, each individual does what he needs to do to process it and make sure he can focus on the game at the same time.»

New Zealand have played in five previous World Cups but did not win a game until Hannah Wilkinson’s goal to open the second half went unchallenged. Norway is the favorite in Group A, having last advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Hannah Wilkinson celebrates winning a World Cup match

Hannah Wilkinson’s post-match celebration after the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia v New Zealand 2023 Group A match between New Zealand and Norway at Eden Park on July 20, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Ulrik Pedersen/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)


Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said in an update on Thursday that there is «no reason» to believe there is a «continuing risk» to the public and that the tournament should go ahead as planned.

«Police have been part of the FIFA Women’s World Cup operational planning group and as such were well positioned to manage the impacts at the event,» Coster said. «We are satisfied that there is no continuing risk to the public and there is no reason why the tournament should not go ahead: it is safe to attend the matches.»

New Zealand players observe a moment of silence after the Auckland shooting

New Zealand players observe a minute’s silence for the victims in Auckland, New Zealand, shooting ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia v New Zealand 2023 Group A match between New Zealand and Norway at Eden Park on 20 January. July 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Phil Walter/Getty Images)


Police did not identify the suspect, but said he was a 24-year-old man who was working at the construction site. He was found barricaded in the building when police arrived on the scene. Officers confronted the man after he opened fire and later found him dead.

An officer wounded in the shooting was transported to an area hospital in critical condition but is now said to be stabilized. Four others suffered injuries «ranging from moderate to more serious.»

Associated Press contributed to this report.