Soccer: Moss intent on World Cup redemption

By Terry Maddaford

'Moment of madness' in Fiji which cost him his opportunity in 2010 firmly in the past, recuperating All Whites keeper's game plan now all about being in the frame for 2014.

Glen Moss says basing himself with the Phoenix during the leadup to the next World Cup was an easy decision. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Glen Moss says basing himself with the Phoenix during the leadup to the next World Cup was an easy decision. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Glen Moss is adamant he has moved on from the "moment of madness" which cost him the chance to play at the 2010 World Cup. He steadfastly prefers to look ahead and with that the chance to make amends in 2014.

Swearing at referee Lencie Fred in a dead World Cup qualifier in Fiji in November 2008 resulted in a four-match ban for goalkeeper Moss.

For a reason best known to Fifa, Moss was free to play the three matches at the 2009 Confederations Cup but not the home and away qualifiers against Bahrain later that year or the first two World Cup matches in South Africa.

Grabbing his "never give a sucker an even break" chance, Mark Paston stepped up big time in the Bahrain matches and at the World Cup leaving Moss as his back-up.

It is a rivalry that has stood the test of time with both having the utmost respect for each other.

In his first stint at the Wellington Phoenix Moss had more game time than Paston, now, after time at Melbourne Victory and Gold Coast United, Moss is back in Wellington and still playing second fiddle to Paston.

"It was a no-brainer to come back to the Phoenix," said Moss as he and Paston worked out under All Whites goalkeeping coach Clint Gosling in Auckland this week. "I had trials lined up in England but after what had gone on at Melbourne and Gold Coast, I wanted a stable environment in the lead-up to the next World Cup."

No place better to do that than under the watchful eye of Ricki Herbert, the coach wearing both hats.

Asked whether he felt bitter about that moment in Fiji and the subsequent events, Moss said that "could not be further from the truth". He is determined not to dwell on the past.

"Fiji is well behind me," said Moss. "I am more concerned these days at getting back to 100 per cent fitness and playing.

"Going to the Phoenix and also being in this [All Whites] environment means I have the best possible medical team. They have done a great job in getting me back to where I am now."

He said that was one of the reasons he went with the All Whites on that ill-fated trip to the Nations Cup in Honiara when it was unlikely he would play. Spending time with the team's medical staff a big plus in his recovery from a groin injury which had sidelined him for months.

"It was similar to what Dan Carter suffered. I basically snapped my groin muscle and had to have it surgically reattached," said Moss. "I was on crutches for six weeks."

When the chance to return to Wellington came up - after the demise of Gold Coast United, Moss and his wife of a year "after we met when I was at Sydney Olympic about 10 years ago" hardly hesitated.

"The club spirit at the Phoenix is absolutely the best I have ever experienced. There are few actual Wellington-based players in the squad so we tend to do a lot together and that makes for a great spirit.

"Saturday night's game against Sydney was great. Forget about the weather, the boys were dying to get out there and feed off the atmosphere. We deserved our win by both the way we played and in the way in which we limited their opportunities."

Even though it must have hurt to see Paston in goal?

"Not really. Sure, I would like to get more game time but we have a friendly rivalry and I know that I have to wait for my chance. Even when Mark was injured in Honiara and was out of the tournament I knew I was not ready. I could have come on at a pinch but I could not have kicked."

Despite the amount of time they spend together, Moss and Paston do not room together given concerns that if one goalkeeper went down with a bug there would be every chance the other would catch it.

"When I'm with the All Whites I room with Ivan Vicelich - the Godfather. Everyone looks up to him and we get on really well."

Asked whether given the chance to choose, would he have been happy to go to Melbourne with Phoenix for Sunday's game and be guaranteed a start or join the All Whites and head to Tahiti with little or no chance of seeing any action, Moss mused for a minute and said "I left that to Ricki."

Herbert had no doubt.

"In this window it was important for me to pick the best team," said Herbert. "Glen is certainly part of that."


Glen Moss

DOB: January 19, 1983, Hastings

International: New Zealand Under-20, Under-23, All Whites

All Whites debut: v Malaysia, February 2006

A-League Club: NZ Knights, Wellington Phoenix, Melbourne Victory, Gold Coast United, Wellington Phoenix

Professional games: 100 (11 clean sheets)

Position: Goalkeeper

- NZ Herald

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