Nelsen mulls over NZ future
New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen will contemplate his future after his side went out of the World Cup.
By Danny Wright
Last Updated: 25/06/10 2:44pm
New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen will contemplate his international future after his side went out of the World Cup finals.
The team nominated as whipping boys in South Africa almost pulled off an almighty shock by qualifying for the knockout phase out of Group F.
But a 0-0 stalemate with Paraguay meant they finished third in the group - an achievement not to be sniffed at given their paltry ranking, and the fact that they finished above current holders Italy.
But Nelsen, 32, who was the bedrock of the three-game unbeaten run, says the end of their remarkable adventure will mean he considers whether to continue leading the All Whites.
"I will reflect (on my future) after this," said the Blackburn defender. "It has been a great six weeks with these guys. All the guys will have a good reflection after this and see what needs to be done."
Either way, the stopper can reflect on an enjoyable time playing for the All Whites, and any immediate departure would see him leave on a high.
But the combative Rovers man could not help but feel slightly disappointed not to have gone the distance after coming so close.
He went on: "I'm just gutted. The boys gave everything. I suppose if you had said before the tournament New Zealand would be unbeaten in the World Cup we would have taken that but when you come so close it is pretty painful.
"It has been an incredible run - no-one in the world thought we would be unbeaten in the group and finish ahead of Italy.
"It has been an amazing achievement from a bunch of great guys and I think the future is pretty good. Some of the guys will be around for another few years so the team is going to be pretty strong for a long time."
Manager Ricki Herbert could also be saying goodbye to his heroic charges as he pores over his future plans while on holiday.
Herbert, who also coaches A-League side Wellington Phoenix, said of his future: "Some people have to make some decisions and hopefully they will make them shortly."
The 49-year-old has already been linked with other managerial posts and more offers could be forthcoming as reward for the manager's achievements.
The New Zealand football authorities are hopeful they retain their boss, though, despite inevitable advances Herbert will receive on his reported existing wage of £25,000-a-year.
"He's going to get some wonderful offers and there are a lot of conversations still to go through," said New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum.
"Ricki is so passionate about wanting to coach New Zealand and take them through to 2014 and we've worked very closely with Ricki in the last few weeks and said if he wants to carry on coaching in club football ...then we will actually facilitate that."