Football: All Whites ready to fight in Kone

All Whites captain Chris Wood expects New Caledonia to go to another level when they play in front of their home fans at Stade Yoshida in Koné tomorrow night. Photo / Getty Images.
All Whites captain Chris Wood expects New Caledonia to go to another level when they play in front of their home fans at Stade Yoshida in Koné tomorrow night. Photo / Getty Images.

All Whites captain Chris Wood expects New Caledonia to go to another level when they play in front of their home fans at Stade Yoshida in Kone tomorrow night.

The OFC Nations Cup Champions, who won the home leg at QBE Stadium 2-0 on Saturday thanks to a Marco Rojas double, are looking to get off to a perfect start to their OFC Stage Three Qualifiers but know it is not going to be easy.

New Caledonia have not beaten New Zealand at home since 1972 and are playing them for the first time in Kone, the administrative seat of New Caledonia's North Province, so will be even more motivated to get a result.

"They are going to raise their game even more," said Wood. "They did well out in New Zealand. They created a couple of half chances and we know that if we don't watch that then we will be in trouble. I think we have enough quality in this squad to nullify that and we need to make sure that we are really organised."

One of the strengths of the All Whites is their organised defence. While they have plenty of attacking firepower upfront they also have a resolute defensive line and a world class goal-keeper in Stefan Marinovic who played a leading role in the team winning the OFC Nations Cup.

Marinovic has not conceded a goal in five and a half games for the All Whites against OFC countries - a record which dates back to the opening game of the Nations Cup where Roy Krishna scored a first half penalty for Fiji. The No 1 is naturally proud of his run of clean sheets.

"It's never easy playing against the Island teams they can be pretty unpredictable and score at any time," said Marinovic. "So I'm very proud of that record of clean sheets and I want to continue it for as long as I can starting with tomorrow."

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson, who will welcome back Michael Boxall and Kip Colvey into consideration after they were suspended following the OFC Nations Cup, said their defensive line in a big factor in their chances for success on the world stage.

"It's important because we've got plenty of players who can score goals," said Hudson. "When you get into these matches that are qualifiers - they're not friendlies, they mean something - we are hard to break down and are organised. At this stage it's all about results."

Wood said the team has handled the short turnaround and the significant travel to Koné well. They are impressed by the pitch at Stade Yoshida and are looking to build on their performance in Auckland.

"There were a lot of positives," said Wood. "We came out and delivered a very professional performance and got the win which is what we were after. We had a lot of chances and we minimised them to very minimal opportunities. That is what we would like to do here and hopefully we will come out with the right result."

Wood, who played a limited role in training today, said the team knows what they are going to face come kick off at 5pm.

"It is what we expect, it is going to warm and muggy and the pitch is looking pretty good. It is going to be just like any other game. We are going to have to work hard and be ready for what they bring."

Hudson said the goal for the match is to be strong, organised and dominant and the number one priority was to win.

"Really the responsibility is on the home team here to get a result so we know it is going to be tough," he said. "They did a very good job on Saturday of sitting in and defending and trying to catch us on the break. I don't think they are going to change how they play too much. But for us we want to win the game, we want to be strong and we want an improvement on the last game."

Hudson has called for his team to show more composure on attack and deliver a performance they can be proud of.

"Ultimately we know that we are capable of far more. We all knew that and we want to see the difference in the game tomorrow."

New Caledonia vs. New Zealand Fact Box
Where: Stade Yoshida, Kone, New Caledonia
When: Tuesday 15 November, Kick-off: 5pm (7pm NZ time - Live on SKY Sport)
What: OFC Stage Three Qualifier for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 29 May 2017 22:51:18 Processing Time: 622ms