The reign of All Whites coach Danny Hay has delivered another fixture against a giant side in international football.
New Zealand will face world number four England at the iconic Wembley Stadium on November 13 as part of their trip to Europe. That will follow their planned match with world number one Belgium in Brussels on October 9.
It will be the third match between the All Whites and England. The previous clashes came in 1991 – the Three Lions travelled south for a double-header in Auckland and Wellington, both won by the visitors, 1-0 and 2-0.
Nearly 30 years have passed, but what remains a constant is the stark difference between the two teams. England is currently sitting in its best ranking in seven years, while New Zealand sits way down the list in 122nd.
Taking on a powerhouse nation is a huge feat for Hay and his side.
"Incredibly excited. What an opportunity to test ourselves against one of the leading sides in the world," Hay says.
"Particularly for New Zealanders when we think of football we often think of England, we think of the Premier League. When you think of stadiums you think of Wembley."
The game, along with their fixture against Belgium, will be the All Whites' first tussles since November 2019 when they played the Republic of Ireland and Lithuania. Matches against Oman and Bahrain in the Middle East were set for March, before the Covid-19 pandemic saw both canned.
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"It's been a long time between drinks," Hay says.
"I'm going to be a little bit nervous getting back out on the grass; it's been such a long time. But really chomping at the bit, can't wait."
But the tie with England, like everything that is planned in advance in 2020, has an asterisk next to it. If countries cannot maintain an element of control on their responses to the virus, the games may be called off. On top of that, player selection will also be a tricky process to work through for the New Zealand coaches, as those based outside of Europe may not be able to join the team.
"We're not discounting [New Zealand and Australian based players being picked], but it is at this stage really unlikely," Hay says. "Getting the players to Belgium is slightly easier, but it's getting players back to their home country without huge quarantine stays, [that] is the real challenge."
Two key players outside of Europe include central defenders Winston Reid and Michael Boxall, who compete in Major League Soccer in the United States.
"A lot of the players as we know are in the midst of their seasons so we just can't afford for them to miss multiple games," Hay adds.