June 4, 2011
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – The chance to play the trans-Tasman rivals the Socceroos in a rematch of last year’s dramatic pre World Cup loss is firing an All Whites side running on fumes after a demanding travel schedule in this international window.
The All Whites lost 0-3 to Mexico in Denver on Thursday afternoon (NZT), after a disappointing first half, and now back up on Sunday halfway around the world following a 27-hour trip to Adelaide.
They are already thinner on the ground after shedding Simon Elliott, Craig Henderson, Winston Reid (all injured) and Ivan Vicelich (unavailable) from a squad already without Tony Lochhead, Tommy Smith, Rory Fallon, Jeremy Christie and Leo Bertos, although Marco Rojas’ arrival has boosted the number of available outfielders to 14.
All Whites skipper Tim Brown has played down the negative factors preferring instead to look at what will drive his team when the match kicks off at the Adelaide oval at 7.30 (NZT).
“Any chance you get to play against Australia it’s something special in itself. We know some of those guys quite well and it’ll be a battle,” Brown said.
Brown knows as well as anyone just how fierce the All Whites and Socceroos rivalry can get.
The 30 year old midfielder fractured his shoulder during the first half of last year’s clash between the two sides in Melbourne – teammate Leo Bertos was also on the wrong end of some crunching tackles – a match won 2-1 by the home side through a 94th minute goal by Brett Holman.
“I think last time they spent the build up telling the media that we would kick them but it turned out to be the other way round, which is ironic. I think it’ll be a physical battle, no question about that but we’ve got something to prove after the other night.”
All Whites coach Ricki Herbert said his charges would be raring to go given another 24 hours.
“I don’t think you could have asked for a better one to back up after travelling 30 hours and having to perform the next day,” Herbert said.
“Australia is the right recipe for that, but we’ll see what the result is. It’s a healthy respect we have for them. All the boys will be loving it, they’ll be looking forward to it. Everyone will be writing us off but that’s a dangerous place to be.”
The All Whites are missing nine starters from last year’s World Cup side including the entire defence and midfield. Tim Brown seems certain to be partnered in midfield by playmaker Michael McGlinchey while there will be further opportunities for young strikers Kosta Barbarouses and Chris Wood at some stage on Sunday night alongside Shane Smeltz and Chris Killen. Elsewhere, Herbert will have to piece together the remaining pieces of the puzzle with only the official stadium walkover and a good night’s sleep to firm up his thinking.
Australia v New Zealand
Sunday 5 June, 5pm (7.30pm NZT)
Live on Sky Sport
New Zealand (from): 1-Glen MOSS (GK), 4-Ben SIGMUND, 8-Tim BROWN (c), 9-Shane SMELTZ, 10-Chris KILLEN, 11-Kosta BARBAROUSES, 12-Mark PASTON (GK), 13-Michael FITZGERALD, 14-Michael McGLINCHEY, 15-Andrew BOYENS, 16-Michael BOXALL, 17-Aaron CLAPHAM, 18-Jake GLEESON (GK), 19-Marco ROJAS, 20-Chris WOOD, 22-Jeremy BROCKIE, 23-David MULLIGAN.
Coach: Ricki HERBERT
Australia (from): Alex BROSQUE, Nathan COE (gk), Brett EMERTON, Adam FEDERICI (gk), Brett HOLMAN, Mile JEDINAK, Josh KENNEDY, Neil KILKENNY, Robbie KRUSE, Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), Jonathan McKAIN, Matthew McKAY, Mark MILLIGAN, Lucas NEILL, Sasa OGNENOVSKI, Matthew SPIRANOVIC, Archie THOMPSON, James TROISI, Carl VALERI, Dario VIDOSIC, Rhys WILLIAMS, Luke WILKSHIRE, Michael ZULLO.
Coach: Holger OSIECK