All Whites all set for opener
New Zealand are ready for their World Cup opener against Slovakia on Tuesday, according to their coach.
Last Updated: 10/06/10 12:36pm
New Zealand are ready for their World Cup opener against Slovakia on Tuesday, coach Ricky Herbert has said.
The All Whites lost 2-0 to Chile in their final warm-up match on Wednesday but this did not worry the coach.
The match, unusually divided into three 30 minute periods, allowed both teams to give their fringe players a run out. Herbert made eight substitutions in the match where Chile scored twice in the final period.
"I think we got pretty much everything we wanted," Herbert said.
"The first two periods we went with a stronger side and didn't make too many changes for 60 minutes and I thought we were very comfortable.
"Everybody was going to get a shot so the last 30 minutes were always going to be tough for us so I'm very pleased."
New Zealand are among few World Cup squads that contain semi-professional players.
But coach Herbert, a defender in the Kiwis' only previous World Cup appearance in Spain in 1982, was upbeat: "We're ready. I can't wait for the opening game."
Blackburn's Ryan Nelsen, the New Zealand captain, missed the final warm-up match with an ear infection. However, the team doctor says the influential central defender is expected to be fine for the opener against Slovakia.