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Posted by Marcus Anselm on 05/30/2010

Expectation and excitement in New Zealand is on the rise after a memorable 1-0 win over Serbia in Austria.

The All Whites looked comfortable against the European outfit, even though they lacked a number of first teamers.

Shane Smeltz ended a dry patch with a well taken goal, and a clean sheet for the new look defence, which had Ryan Nelsen marshalling newcomers Tommy Smith and Winston Reid, was also encouraging.

Jeremy Christie was solid as a second midfield workhorse, and the front three, especially Rory Fallon, showed more movement than in any game in the past year.

Fallon dropped deep for the goal and stayed mobile enough to flick on Reid’s long ball for an assist for Smeltz.

The result was just reward for another encouraging performance, coming days after their last gasp defeat to Australia in Melbourne.

Maybe it was against a team neither at full pelt, nor full strength – the Serbs were without their talisman and captain Dejan Stankovic, of Internazionale – but it was still a game to take inspiration from.

Back in Aotearoa, the result over the number 15 ranked team has been heralded as one of the nation’s best ever results.

Another win in Austria over neighbouring Slovenia at the weekend could continue to raise expectations and confidence of making a significant impact.

Victory over the Slovenes could also strike worry into World Cup opponents Slovakia – the former Yugoslav republic took maximum points from Vladimir Weiss’ team in qualification, their only defeats.

Let’s hope the levels of confidence and performance can continue their upward trend and peak at the right time.


Posted by Sam on 05/30/2010

incredible result

Posted by Khokan on 05/31/2010

Despite of this result, it'll be difficult 4 NZ to go 2nd round.

Posted by Diego on 05/31/2010

God defend New Zealand!
Stick to the black Away Jersey!!!!!

Posted by StickmanH on 05/31/2010

That was nowhere near the NZ top lineup, either - Killen, Vicelich, Brown, McGlinchey missing & Sigmund not starting. Jeremy Christie is 4th choice midfielder; Wood is 18yrs old, Smith 20 & Reid 21.

Posted by Marcus Anselm on 05/31/2010

Thanks for your comments.

Sam - Yes it was a top result - great to see it. Let's hope they carry on coming.

Khokan - Yes, it will be very difficult - but achievable. It's not the toughest group in the comp at all. You never know...

Diego - Yeah I agree about the shirts! I think we may see the black kit against Paraguay and Slovakia.

StickmanH - good point. I did address it slightly but was great to see strength in depth. I think Smith looks like a good find in particular - he's been better with every game. Reid also looked solid. Having another more defensive midfielder in the team (Christie) is a plus in a 3-4-3 system, but obviously we need and want Tim Brown back.

Posted by Caligula on 05/31/2010

I think Australia was robbed in the last World Cup against Italy and should have won. New Zealand show great spirit as well. Even though these two Oceanic teams are inferior to us Europeans in technical and tactical capabilities, their spirit and impressive physique can score sensational results. I wish them all the best! (since Sweden isnt there anyway...)

Posted by Phil on 05/31/2010

Obviously a brilliant result, we were immense and definitely deserved to win on the night. I agree with StickmanH, we are starting to get some real strength in depth, something which we have not had in a while...these are exciting times. Look at the age of some of our squad players: McGlinchey- 23, Wood- 18, Brockie- 22, Ried- 21, Smith- 20...guys who have all shown promise and can only get better with this experience.

Posted by Serbia fan on 05/31/2010

new zealand played very intelligently. i was quite frustrated but im not disheartened as it is only a friendly after all. however it will do wonders for the kiwis confidence and good to see youngsters emerging. living in australia i can see the obvious benefits for us aussies having a strong and football enthused neighbour. hopefully they make a great impact at the world cup even if they dont manage to qualify to the next round but they are capable of springing a few surprises thats for sure!

Posted by Yezen on 05/31/2010

Yeah, come on New Zealand. The All Whites are a force to be reckoned with.

Posted by subby on 05/31/2010

go on new zealand! slovaks and paraguay watch out.

Posted by Doug on 06/01/2010

As a proud New Zealander I will be genuinely surprised if we don't win the world cup.

Posted by Edward on 06/01/2010

Wow... StickmanH and the author Marky Marcus Anselm... what are you guys on?

I rate that pretty much the best 11 we could have fielded.

Reid and Smith are far better options that grandpa Vicelich and Benny "Boot!!!" Sigmund. "Boot" as in that is all he can do, like the munter at the back when you played against Dannevirke HS.

The young chaps alongside Nelsen are good ball players and are the future along with Wood of the game for NZ. Tim Brown is a weak link and I think most are glad he is out of action.

I think that line up was near perfect for the A-dubs.

Definitely agree that the black kit is the way to roll.

Posted by Charade on 06/01/2010

Woah woah woah, 'inferior' to European teams is hardly the way I'd put it. They may not have hugely successful or popular players, but a win over Serbia labels them a bit better than the 'superior' European countries that didn't even qualify, like Belgium and Russia, both excellent teams. Be careful what you say, quality is only determined by results, and I'm damn sure NZ proved their lack of inferiority against Serbia.

Posted by Marcus Anselm on 06/01/2010

Edward - Reid and Smith have potential but I'd definitely start the tournament with Vicelich and Sigmund alongside Nelsen, if we're playing 3-4-3. But they clearly can step in if needed, and I think they both have long futures in the national team. Glad we agree on the shirts though.

Charade - good point about quality is only determind by results. Greece's Euro 2004 win is a case in point, and perhaps more pertinently, Germany in 1990. Not saying NZ will go that far, but tactics, determination, stamina and luck are often as important as skill in these tournaments.

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