New Zealand kicked off the FIFA Women's World Cup with the country's first ever victory in the event, 1-0 over Norway on Thursday in Auckland.
The World Cup co-host rode University of Tennessee product Hannah Wilkinson's goal early in the second half and New Zealand goalkeeper Victoria Esson made a pair of brilliant saves to preserve the shutout in Group A action.
"We wanted to inspire young girls, young people around this country and around the world," co-captain Ali Riley said post-match. "I really think we did that tonight. Anything is possible."
The Ferns won with defensive pressure, limiting breakaway chances and clean looks at the goal.
A record crowd for a soccer match in New Zealand -- 42,137 -- packed Eden Park for the opening game of the tournament. New Zealand had never won a match in men's or women's World Cup play, a stretch of more than 30 years without a victory.
--Australia 1, Ireland 0
Playing without star Sam Kerr, co-host Australia used a penalty from Steph Catley in the 52nd minute to sneak past Ireland in the opening match for both teams at Stadium Australia on Thursday.
Ireland had multiple narrow misses in a bid to level the score. Megan Connolly's free kick in stoppage time sailed just over the post to the relief of the capacity crowd of more than 75,000.
"Losing a player like Sam, probably the best player in the world, and her as a person, obviously we were heartbroken. We had to use her spirit to help us push on. She's so, so important, she's our spiritual leader," Catley said.
Kerr was a late scratch due to a calf injury. Her status for the Matildas' upcoming Group B matches is not known.
--Field Level Media