The FIFA U-20 World Cup is only days away and New Zealand have named an exciting squad to take part in Korea Republic 2017. Darren Bazeley’s squad has a lot of depth and experience including a few senior national team players. We take a look at five of New Zealand’s most experienced and influential players who will be taking part in the tournament from 20 May – 11 June.
Club: Auckland City FC
Clayton Lewis is an All White who has eight senior caps to his name. He made his senior national team debut against Korea Republic in a 1-0 loss back in 2015. Representing his country at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Lewis played every minute of the campaign and also had the honour of scoring New Zealand’s last goal of the group stage against Myanmar. He captained the side throughout their OFC U-20 Championship campaign last year in September, which they won after toppling Vanuatu in the final 5-0. Lewis plays his football with Auckland City FC in the Stirling Sports Premiership and is part of the squad that made it to the final of the OFC Champions League, where he helped City beat Team Wellington 5-0 on aggregate. He will make his second appearance in a FIFA U-20 World Cup finals this year as the captain of the side and will lead his team out against Vietnam in the opening match in Cheonan.
Club: Northcote City FC (Australia)
Moses Dyer, also an All White, has nine senior caps and, like Lewis, made his senior men’s national team debut against Korea Republic in 2015. He also played every minute of New Zealand’s U-20 World Cup campaign that year. Dyer was also part of the All Whites side that won the OFC Nations Cup in 2016 and scored the winning penalty against Papua New Guinea to book their place at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. He continued to be an influence after being part of the OFC U-20 Championship squad and scoring in the final against Vanuatu. He will make his second U-20 World Cup finals appearance at Korea Republic 2017. Dyer currently plays his football with Northcote City FC in the NPL Victoria 2 in Australia. During the summer, Dyer was part of Eastern Suburbs in their inaugural season of the Stirling Sports Premiership. He is an influential player in the U-20 line up and will no doubt be a standout at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Club: Nike Academy (United Kingdom)
Myer Bevan, a player from Auckland who quickly grabbed news headlines after winning a contract at the Nike Academy in 2016, will be a key player up front after an impressive goal tally for the Nike Academy. Bevan was part of the OFC U-20 Championship squad, scoring five goals in as many appearances at the event. He was the Player of the Tournament and top scorer in the OFC U-20 Championship. He has scored 25 goals for the Nike Academy against clubs like Barcelona, Arsenal, Inter Milan, Manchester United and other world-class teams. Bevan will be a huge asset at the FIFA U-20 World Cup after impressive performances for both the Nike Academy and his country.
Club: Sunderland AFC (United Kingdom)
Michael Woud, New Zealand’s No 1 goalkeeper at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, has made a promising start to his footballing career after signing with Sunderland’s academy in England. Woud achieved a clean sheet at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2015 against Syria, impressively saving New Zealand six times in the group stage game. Against Brazil, Woud made five saves and conceded just one goal, which was a penalty in stoppage time of the match. At the OFC U-20 Championship last year, Woud achieved three clean sheets out of five matches and was handed the golden glove of the tournament. Woud is likely to be New Zealand’s No 1 goalkeeper again at the FIFA U-20 World Cup after his exploits in the qualifiers and further impressive performances for Sunderland’s academy. Recent results at U-18 level include an impressive 2-0 win over Swansea City, a 1-1 draw against Leicester City and a scoreless stalemate against West Bromwich Albion.
Club: Blackpool FC
Henry Cameron is a senior player who has made two appearances for the All Whites. Qualifying for New Zealand through his mother’s heritage, Cameron plays for Blackpool FC where he made his first appearance against Brighton and Hove Albion in a 1-0 win at home at the age of sixteen. On his All Whites debut against Oman in 2015, Cameron set up Chris Wood’s goal, which proved to be the only strike of the game and resulted in Anthony Hudson’s first win since taking charge. Cameron was only 17 during his full All Whites international debut. After a long absence from football with an ACL injury, Cameron made his international comeback against the USA in a 1-1 draw last October in Washington. Now aged 19, Cameron will be a key figure in New Zealand’s FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign, looking to use the experience gained from his involvement in three All Whites camps.
FIFA U-20 World Cup Fixtures:
Vietnam vs New Zealand
May 22, 8pm (NZT 11pm)
New Zealand vs Honduras
May 25, 8pm (NZT 11pm)
New Zealand vs France
Daejeon World Cup Stadium
May 28, 3pm (NZT 6pm)
All games live on SKY Sport