All Whites get past Honiara mistakes
Tue, 04 Sep 2012 6:44p.m.
By Andrew Gourdie
The All Whites' bid to reach back-to-back World Cups begins in Noumea on Friday when stage three of their Oceania qualifying campaign kicks off against New Caledonia.
It's the same team that brought about their embarrassing exit from the Oceania Nations Cup in June, but the team are at full strength to ensure those mistakes aren't repeated.
Papeete's a long way from the Premier League, but a weary Winston Reid's not complaining as he checks in for the fourth leg of a two-day journey to New Caledonia.
“At the end of the day we have to qualify for a World Cup, so that's what it's all about,” says the All Whites defender. “It doesn't matter who we have to play.”
Reid enters the All Whites qualifiers in the form of his life. A goal on the weekend punctuated a strong start to the season and justified his decision not to play at the Olympics.
“I felt I did the right decision. I made a choice that got me in the team at West Ham right now, so I feel I did all right.”
But World Cup qualifiers are different. Both Reid and skipper Ryan Nelsen return to the side after both players missed the team's disastrous Oceania Nations Cup campaign in Honiara.
The pain of their semi-final defeat against New Caledonia is still raw for Ivan Vicelich. But the veteran defender says it has provided a reality check as the team enters the next phase of qualifying.
“It's very difficult in the islands,” says Vicelich. “They're playing professional football now. They train and eat together. They sleep together every day. It's like professionals.”
He admits the team have possibly been over-confident against the island nations in the past, but not anymore.
“One thing we noticed is they got no fear anymore. The island nations, they come against us and they have the belief they can beat us.”
After Friday’s match the All Whites return home to face the Solomon Islands on Tuesday night. Two wins will put them well on their way to moving past the horror in Honiara.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
The Australians are getting the civil formalities out of the...
San Antonio bounced back after squandering a 13-point lead i...
All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg has been moved off the bench...
Palmerston North's Hayden Pritchard is proof not all weightl...
This special bit of skill comes from the Memorial Cup match ...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.