Football: All Whites to play US

The All Whites are set to take on Mexico and the US in October. Photo / NZ Herald
The All Whites are set to take on Mexico and the US in October. Photo / NZ Herald

Qualification for next year's Confederations Cup is clearly working out well for the All Whites with a game against the United States in October confirmed this morning.

Anthony Hudson's side will meet the Americans in Washington on October 11, three days after they play Mexico in Nashville on October 8.

It had been a lean few years for the All Whites until they won June's Oceania Nations Cup in unconvincing fashion, beating hosts Papua New Guinea on penalties in the final, with only six games under Hudson in two years. But the offers have come in after they confirmed their spot at next year's Confederations Cup.

The Washington Post reported yesterday confirmation of the US game is expected this week after the kickoff time and television details are finalised.

New Zealand Football confirmed the fixture today.

"This has got to be one of the biggest windows we've had in quite a few years playing against two world-class sides," said All Whites coach Anthony Hudson.

"The States and Mexico are two teams that always compete well at the FIFA World Cup and they both have large followings so we're hoping for some big crowds to really test ourselves."

The US had originally planned to play Ghana on October 11 but Fifa rules prevented this from happening.

Ghana have a World Cup qualifier eight days earlier against Uganda and, while teams are allowed to play both a qualifier and friendly inside the same nine-day Fifa window, the sport's governing body prevent the friendly from taking place more than a five-hour flight and two time zones away because of the burden on players and their clubs.

In this case, Fifa declined Ghana's request for a waiver.

Most nations are involved in World Cup qualifiers in the October window, meaning New Zealand were an attractive proposition for the US, especially as they will already be in the country.

Not since June 2011, when they played Mexico and Australia, have the All Whites had two quality games in consecutive fixtures outside of major tournaments or qualifiers. Mexico, who beat New Zealand 9-3 over two legs for a spot at the 2014 World Cup, are ranked 14th and the US 26th.

The All Whites have jumped up to 93rd on the back of their win at the Nations Cup after being a lowly 159 towards the end of last year.

- additional reporting Washington Post

- NZ Herald

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