Stuart Dye at the World Cup
Stuart Dye blogs from the Fifa World Cup

Soccer: The only downside of winning on Friday

By Stuart Dye

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All Whites coach Ricki Herbert was planning to leave South Africa next week for a family holiday.

Now he faces the possibility of having to change his plans.

Despite the brave talk before the World Cup, few people imagined that the All Whites would secure two draws and still be in the hunt for a place in the next round with one game to play.

And despite Herbert's confident assertion that the New Zealand team would surprise people, even he had made plans to leave almost two weeks before the tournament finished.

Herbert, whose wife Raewyn and children Kale and Sacha are also in South Africa, had booked flights to Hong Kong.

A win against Paraguay on Friday morning would put New Zealand into the next round of competition and even a draw could put them through.

"I'm worried because I have five days booked in Hong Kong with the family," Herbert told the Herald.

"I might have to change that. What a shame. It won't be a problem changing it."

It remains almost unthinkable that the All Whites could qualify for the first knock-out stage of the World Cup.

But if they do, the coach is not the only one who may have to change his plans.

Striker Chris Killen missed the All Whites last pre-World Cup warm up match against Serbia to get married in the UK - then postponed his honeymoon so he could go to South Africa.

"I have had to provisionally book it for after the last game, which might need to be delayed again," said Killen.

He admitted that "I'm hoping the honeymoon will be put on hold for a bit yet".

He should not have to worry.

His wife Hannah, his family and her family arrived in South Africa last week to support him.

Captain Ryan Nelsen's wife Monica is expecting the couple's second child, due on the eve of the World Cup final.

Nelsen has made it clear that if the baby arrived early, "nothing on this earth" would stop him flying home to be with his family.

- NZ Herald

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