The All Whites are focused on finishing the job against the Solomon Islands in the second leg of the OFC Final Stage of Qualifying for the FIFA World Cup.
The OFC Nations Cup champions departed Auckland at 6am yesterday morning for a full day of travel before completing their official training at the Lawson Tama Stadium in hot and humid conditions.
Anthony Hudson’s teams holds a 6-1 advantage after a dominant performance against the Solomon Islands in Auckland on Friday night. The coach wants more of the same from a new-look team in Honiara as they looks to confirm their place in the Intercontinental Playoff.
Solomon Islands’ coach Felipe Vega-Arango Alonso’s said following the game in Auckland the tie was effectively over, but Hudson wasn’t buying that theory.
“I’m going to do what I can to not let anyone think that way, or talk that way – out of respect for them too,” said Hudson. “On top of that, every time you put this shirt on it’s about putting on a performance that we are proud of so we will be doing all we can to make sure we’re professional, we’re organised and we approach the game with the same mind-set as Friday. We are going there to win the game.”
“I have made it clear that no one in our squad is thinking about November yet and we can’t afford to with what is at stake in this match.”
Hudson decided to release skipper Chris Wood, who scored the second hat-trick on his international career, and Ryan Thomas who also got on the score-sheet in the second half. Midfielder Michael McGlinchey and reserve goal-keeper Ollie Sail also did not travel with the squad to Honiara.
The head coach feels they have enough quality within the squad to get the job done in what will be tricky conditions. The weather forecast predicting 29 degrees Celsius and 87 percent humidity and there is also a chance of thunderstorms.
“We know that it is going to be difficult conditions, but we have the players within this group to win the game and finish the job. It is a great opportunity for some other players in our squad.”
Kosta Barbarouses, who scored a goal in the first half of the 6-1 win in Albany, said there would be no danger of the All Whites being complacent with a five goal lead.
“I don’t think that is really in our nature,” said the Melbourne Victory forward. “The boys know how tough it is going to the Islands. It is always tough there with things like the pitch and the weather limiting how you can play football but we will go out to implement our game plan. We have a big lead, but it is not going to stop us going out there to win and win well.”
Left-wing back Thomas Doyle said the team was fully supportive of Wood and Thomas being released and they are determined to finish the job without them.
“They both put in a great performance the other night. It was awesome to see Woodsy get a hat-trick,” said Doyle. “Now it is time for some other boys to step up and do exactly what he did. It is a great opportunity. We have the depth in our squad and it is an exciting venture for some new players to come in do what those boys did.”
The All Whites will look to continue their unbeaten record against Oceania nations under Anthony Hudson. They have won eight and drawn once from their nine games against OFC opposition with a record of 22 goals for and two against.
The winner of the home and away tie will meet the fifth-ranked South American team in the Intercontinental Playoff in November.
Solomon Islands v New Zealand
5 September 2017
Lawson Tama Stadium
Honiara, Solomon Islands
Kick off 2pm (3pm NZT) Live on SKY Sport
Live updates on Twitter: @NZ_Football #WCQ #SOLNZL #AllWhites
Referee: Abdulraham Ibrahim AL Jassim (QAT)
Assistant Referee 1: Taleb Salem Al Marri (QAT)
Assistant Referee 2: Saoud Ahmed Almaqaleh (QAT)
Fourth Official: Khamis Mohamed Al Kuwari (QAT)
Team List: 1. Philip Mango (GK), 2. Joses Nawo, 4. Nelson Sale, 5. Haddis Aengari, 6. Emmanuel Poila, 7. Jerry Donga, 8. Henry Fa’arodo, 9. Benjamin Totori, 10. Micah Lea’alafa, 11. Gagame Feni, 12. Zantas Kabini (GK), 13. Richard Hiromana, 14. Clifton Aumae, 15. Jeffery Bule, 16. Michael Boso, 17. Atkin Kaua, 18. James Naka, 19. Andrew Rarangia, 20. Timothy Ba, 22. Desmond TUTU (GK)
Coach: Felipe Vega-Arango Alonso (ESP)
Team List: 1. Stefan Marinovic (GK), 2. Sam Brotherton, 3. Deklan Wynne, 4. Themi Tzimopoulos, 5. Michael Boxall, 6. James Musa, 7. Kosta Barbarouses, 12. Glen Moss (GK), 13. Monty Patterson, 15. Myer Bevan, 16. Moses Dyer, 17. Thomas Doyle, 18. Kip Colvey, 19. Alex Rufer, 21. Storm Roux, 22. Andrew Durante, Coach: Anthony Hudson (ENG)