Football: Football Ferns hold Brazil scoreless in Taupo

By Martin Bottomley

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A Brazil player goes flying. PHOTO: Rory Scott.
A Brazil player goes flying. PHOTO: Rory Scott.

NZ 0 Brazil 0

A goalless draw was an understated result after an exceptionally physical match that saw the Football Ferns growing in confidence as the game progressed.

Much of the first half in Taupo on Thursday was spent battling the elements as a brave New Zealand defence faced both a stiff wind and an attack with all the flair and creativity that you would expect from an experienced side.

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The defence stood firm and even the well drilled Brazilian set pieces were quashed with aplomb as the guests became visibly frustrated.

As the visitors frustration started to take effect the Ferns had a strong finish to the first half with several counter attacks breaking at pace from defence to attack most notably up the right wing starting from pacey right back Ria Percival.

Never has the cliché "It's a game of two halves" been more apt as the second half started and the wind now at the back of New Zealand and the message at half time to push forward was clear to the excited audience that had braved the cold conditions to enjoy the match.

Tempers flared and a few overzealous challenges in the latter stages led to cards being produced and a solid 5 minutes of injury time being declared as two late chances for the Silver Ferns rattled the underside of the bar and called the keeper into action.

Ferns coach Tony Readings said he was pleased to see his 20th ranked side prove they are capable of competing with anyone in the world after holding the 6th ranked Brazilians to consecutive draws. He said going forward they would be concentrating on capitalising on the good performances and converting them into wins.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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