All Whites ready for Mexico

FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, Match Day -1 Vs Mexico, Official training session, Fischt Stadium, Sochi Russia Tuesday 20th June 2017. Shane Wenzlick / www.phototek.nz

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson knows it is all or nothing for his team in their second game at the FIFA Confederations Cup.

The OFC Nations Cup champions, who went down 2-0 in their opening game against Russia, currently sit fourth in Group A behind the hosts, Mexico and Portugal.

Hudson knows his side needs to claim a win or a draw in their clash with the World No 17 Mexico tomorrow night in Sochi to keep their dream of advancing to the semi-finals alive.

“Everyone now, after that game, is incredibly determined to make sure we approach this game with the right mind-set and we have one focus which is we want to progress in this tournament,” said Hudson.

Midfielder Marco Rojas, who had a fine game the last time these two teams met in Nashville last October, said the team has dusted themselves off after the opening game and are up for the challenge of trying to contain a world-class team.

“It has been a quick turnaround which is good for us as we just want to get out there again,” said the 25-year-old from the Melbourne Victory. “We are looking forward to a good test from a very good Mexican team. Football is a team sport and we want to do well together to make the country proud.”

Experienced defender Tommy Smith said the team will fight for everything like they did against Russia.

“We want to win the game and we need to win, it is our Cup final really,” said the 25-year-old from Ipswich Town FC.  “If we lose this game then that is probably it for the tournament. We will be doing all we can to get the three points.”

Hudson is realistic about his team’s chances. The World No 95 are well aware they are the smallest team at this tournament and no one expects much from them. Hudson regarded Mexico as a world-class team that is going to take an extraordinary effort to upset them. But there is still belief.

He cited the most recent clash between these two teams as a reason for optimism. Last October, in front of 50,000 Mexican fans in Nashville, the All Whites went down 2-1 to El Tri in an impressive performance.

New Zealand competed well, put their more fancied rivals under pressure and probably deserved more from the game.

“We caused them a lot of problems so we go into this game with our own game plan. We don’t want to be fearful or negative or sit back and allow Mexico to do what they want. We are going to be positive. We are going to be brave. We are going to improve from our last game. I am expecting a really good game tomorrow. I expect incredible spirit from our team. This is a massive game for us.”

Hudson watched Mexico in their opening game of the tournament where they drew 2-2 with European champions and World No 8 Portugal with a goal from the head of Hector Moreno in injury time.

“I thought they played some incredible football – they look like a better team now than they did when we faced them back in October. The result was expected. It could have gone either way. It makes the group exciting.”

Since that friendly last October, Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio has welcomed back some superstars of European football like Javier Hernandez and Carlos Vela.

Hudson is not sure if Osorio, a manager he has huge respect for, will play his strongest side against New Zealand but he is sure whomever comes in will be very capable and continue their free-flowing and attacking brand of football.

He said this game is a chance for the All Whites to pick up where they left off against Russia and again show their ability to compete with the world’s best teams.

“We came into this tournament with so much hope,” said Hudson. “We wanted to do something that we had never done [by a New Zealand team] before in winning a game at a FIFA event. We felt that we had a great opportunity against Russia. We were deflated after the game because we felt we had more. We showed that in the second half. We have another opportunity now to show the world and bigger countries that we can play and we have a good team.

“We will be brave and ultimately we want to make sure the country is proud of what we do.”

New Zealand and Mexico have met in seven A internationals, with the All Whites winning once in 1980 in Auckland and drawing once in 1999 in Egypt.

FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, Match Day -1 Vs Mexico, Official training session, Fischt Stadium, Sochi Russia Tuesday 20th June 2017. Shane Wenzlick / www.phototek.nz

FIFA Confederations Cup – Group A 
Mexico v New Zealand
Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
Kick off 9pm (6am NZT Live on SKY Sport NZ)
#MEXNZL

New Zealand (from): 1. Stefan Marinovic (GK), 2. Sam Brotherton, 3. Deklan Wynne, 4. Themi Tzimopoulos, 5. Michael Boxall, 6. Bill Tuiloma, 7. Kosta Barbarouses, 8. Michael McGlinchey, 9. Chris Wood (c), 10. Shane Smeltz, 11. Marco Rojas, 12. Glen Moss (GK), 13. Monty Patterson, 14. Ryan Thomas, 15. Clayton Lewis, 16. Dane Ingham, 17. Thomas Doyle, 18. Kip Colvey, 19. Alex Rufer, 20. Tommy Smith, 21. Storm Roux, 22. Andrew Durante, 23. Tamati Williams (GK) Coach: Anthony Hudson

Mexico (from): 1. Rodolfo Cota (GK), 2. Nestor Araujo, 3. Carlos Salcedo, 4. Rafael Marquez, 5. Diego Reyes, 6. Jonathan Dos Santos, 7. Miguel Layun, 8. Marco Fabian, 9. Raul Jimenez, 10. Giovani Dos Santos, 11. Carlos Vela, 12. Alfredo Talavera (GK), 13. Guillermo Ochoa (GK), 14. Javier Hernandez, 15. Hector Moreno, 16. Hector Herrera, 17. Juergen Damm, 18. Andres Guardado, 19. Oribe Peralta, 20. Javier Aquino, 21. Luis Reyes, 22. Hirving Lozano, 23. Oswaldo Alanis, Coach Juan Carlos Osorio

2017 FIFA Confederations Cup – All Whites draw
21 June 9pm (6am 22 June NZT) v Mexico Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
24 June 6pm (3am 25 June NZT) v Portugal, Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg
Live on SKY Sport

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Twitter: @NZ_Football #AllWhites #ConfedCup #MEXNZL
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