Soccer: All Whites target battle in the middle

Chris Killen will start in a defensive midfield role for the All Whites today against New Caledonia. Photo / AP
Chris Killen will start in a defensive midfield role for the All Whites today against New Caledonia. Photo / AP

The All Whites will line up with a 3-5-2 formation in their Oceania Nations Cup semifinal in Honiara today as they look to win the midfield battle.

Ricki Herbert's side have been overrun in the middle of the park at times in this tournament and Herbert has opted to put more bodies in the middle with Chris Killen to play the holding midfield role and Michael McGlichey and Kosta Barbarouses more advanced.

The five players who were rested for Wednesday's 1-1 draw with the Solomon Islands return as well as Tony Lochhead, who was suspended for the match.

Shane Smeltz and Chris Wood, who has scored two goals in his last two games, start up front.

The pitch at Lawson Tama Stadium is cutting up but is in remarkably good shape considering the amount of rain that fell in Honiara last night. Thunderstorms struck the area in the late afternoon and, although it eased, continued raining deep into the night.
It is overcast but is expected to clear in the afternoon.

Tahiti are presently leading the Solomons 1-0 at halftime in their semifinal.

New Zealand team to play New Caledonia at the Oceania Nations Cup football tournament at Lawson Tama Stadium today (4pm NZT): (3-5-2) Gleeson; Sigmund, Vicelich, Smith (c ); Bertos, Killen, McGlinchey, Barbarouses, Lochhead; Wood, Smeltz.

- APNZ

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