Football: Soccer-‘No excuses’: Depleted New Zealand expect success in World Cup qualifiers


(Reuters) – New Zealand will likely be under-strength at Oceania’s World Cup qualifying match however ought to nonetheless have sufficient high quality to make sure success, coach Danny Hay stated on Tuesday.

The eight-team match will likely be staged in Qatar on March 17-30 to determine which group advances to a playoff in opposition to the fourth-placed aspect from the CONCACAF area, which options nations from North and Central America, and the Caribbean.

World governing physique FIFA have given the Oceania nations a one-day extension to the March 21-29 worldwide window however Hay will likely be lacking various Europe-based gamers for New Zealand’s first match in opposition to Papua New Guinea on March 18.

Newcastle United striker Chris Wood, Denmark-based midfielder Joe Bell and Italy-based defender Liberato Cacace are amongst these anticipated to overlook out.

Hay could have about 30 gamers touchdown in Qatar at completely different instances, together with a core group of 12 who will arrive earlier than the match and keep all through.

“There’s sufficient high quality there. The overwhelming majority are in good skilled environments, so there’s actually no excuse,” the All Whites coach instructed New Zealand media.

“We ought to have sufficient high quality on the pitch, and so long as we get the stability proper, in phrases of how we method the video games, we must be good to go.

“There’s been some powerful choices, as a result of there are some gamers that have been solely accessible for one or two video games and so it’s a must to make that call round, is it price bringing all of them the way in which over for that?”

New Zealand have been the final Oceania group to qualify for the World Cup after they made the 2010 finals in South Africa.

After Papua New Guinea, they meet Group B rivals Fiji on March 21 and New Caledonia three days later.

The prime two groups of the match’s two teams advance to semi-finals earlier than the March 30 ultimate.

New Zealand beat Solomon Islands to complete prime of Oceania qualifying for Russia in 2018 however their hopes of showing at a 3rd World Cup have been dashed by Peru in a continental playoff.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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