Switzerland made a winning start in Group A as goals either side of the break from Ramona Bachmann and Seraina Piubel secured a 2-0 victory over World Cup debutants the Philippines in Dunedin.
After Katrina Guillou had an early effort ruled out for offside for the Filipinas, Bachmann put Inka Grings’ side ahead with a 45th-minute penalty.
Piubel then added a finish just past the hour mark as the Swiss team returned to World Cup finals action for the first time since 2015, after missing the 2019 tournament.
They join New Zealand on three points in Group A ahead of facing Norway – who the co-hosts beat 1-0 on Thursday – in their second pool match on Tuesday.
Alen Stajcic’s Philippines are the country’s first team to qualify for a men’s or women’s World Cup finals.
And in the 16th minute, Guillou thought she had scored an historic goal when she latched on to a long ball, took it beyond goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann and fired in – but the strike was disallowed by the VAR.
Having survived that scare, Switzerland – ranked 26 places higher than their opponents at 20th in the world – registered a number of attempts on goal, with the best opportunity seeing Ana Maria Crnogorcevic shoot over from close range in the 37th minute.
Soon after, Coumba Sow went down in the Philippines box under a challenge from Jessika Cowart.
Following another VAR intervention, with referee Vincentia Amedome watching the incident back on the pitchside monitor, a penalty was awarded and Bachmann dispatched it in composed fashion past Olivia McDaniel.
The advantage was then doubled 19 minutes into the second half when McDaniel parried a Crnogorcevic shot and Sow follow-up but could not prevent Piubel firing in the loose ball.