Soccer: Herbert aims to build on winning start

By Terry Maddaford

All Whites look set to stick with a successful formula against the Solomons tonight.

All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen takes on Tony Lochhead, left, during training at Albany yesterday. Photo / Brett Phibbs
All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen takes on Tony Lochhead, left, during training at Albany yesterday. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Now the All Whites train is back on the rails, coach Ricki Herbert and captain Ryan Nelsen are determined it should stay there.

While the horror in Honiara remains as a reminder of how things can go so badly wrong, Nelsen, who did not play in the Nations Cup, is keen to dismiss it as "one of those things that can happen in football".

"It was a wake-up call and we acknowledge mistakes were made," said Nelsen. "The important thing is to learn from those mistakes and move on."

He was keener, understandably, to look forward to tonight's game against the Solomon Islands and to build the momentum from Friday night's 2-0 win over New Caledonia in Noumea.

"Personally, I don't have a lot of information on the Solomon players but what we do know is they will be unpredictable and we have to be prepared for that."

Without naming his starting line-up, Herbert hinted strongly there were unlikely to be many, if any, changes.

"I'm considering a couple but I'm not really keen to make changes. Given the players we have like Chris Killen, Marco Rojas and Kosta Barbarouses, if there were any they might be up front," said Herbert.

Tommy Smith (foot injury) and Ben Sigmund (illness) missed yesterday's morning training but both are expected to be available for selection.

Of the first-up win, Herbert said it was a positive start - the first half in particular, when goals to Shane Smeltz and Chris Wood put the All Whites up 2-0.

With eight of his players sitting on a yellow card Herbert said it was something they were very aware of and "had mentioned it to the players", but he also wondered whether there was the consistency they would like from referees.

"First off, though, we have to go and play well," said Herbert, who was pleasantly surprised to learn tonight's game will be his 50th "A" international in charge of the All Whites.

The Solomon Islanders are determined to build on their first-up win and take the early initiative on the road to Brazil.

"We now have to shift our focus to the next game and get into the right mindset to face our opponents," said coach Jacob Moli.

All Whites (likely): Mark Paston, Winston Reid, Ryan Nelsen (c), Tommy Smith, Leo Bertos, Tony Lochhead, Ivan Vicelich, Michael McGlinchey, Shane Smeltz, Chris Wood, Jeremy Brockie. Substitutes, Glen Moss, Ben Sigmund, Michael Boxall, Dan Keat, Tim Payne, Marco Rojas, Kosta Barbarouses, Chris Killen.

Solomon Islands (from): Samson Koti, Hardies Aengari, Nelson Sale, Tome Faisi, Freddie Kini, Leslie Nate, Henry Fa'arodo, Jeffery Bule, Benjamin Totori, Joe Luwi, Ian Paia, Gagame Feni, Joachim Waroi, Joses Nawo, Jack Wetney, Himson Teleda, Paul Hiri, Seni Ngava, Loni Garaba, Paul Huia, Emmanuel Poila, Willie Lamani, Phillip Mango.

NZ v Solomon Islands

North Harbour Stadium
Tonight 7.35 (live SS2)

- NZ Herald

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