Football Ferns move on

A change in scenery has helped the Football Ferns shed the pain of World Cup defeat to Japan and focus their sights on England.


Ali Riley receives her 50th pennant from OFC Player of the Century
Wynton Rufer.

New Zealand were edged 2-1 in Bochum with a stunning free kick from Aya Miyama in the 68th minute claiming all three points for the Group B seeds.

The Ferns now need maximum points against England and Mexico to guarantee progress to the quarterfinals.

The squad travelled to Dresden on Tuesday still smarting from the opening loss but fullback Ali Riley says arriving in the historic and picturesque Saxony capital is just the tonic to clear any lingering ill as they prepare for a make-or-break match against the world number 10 on Friday (Saturday morning NZT).

“Dresden is really beautiful," Riley says.

"I’ve been lucky enough to have been here before so I know it’s a just a wonderful city and a really exciting place to be. I can tell there’s a lot of fans and excitement building already.”

“I think whenever you move locations it just shifts the mindset and that’s what we have to do. We can’t reflect too much on the last game, we really need to look ahead to England and that’s what we’ll do."

Riley made her 50th international appearance in Monday’s defeat – the sixth member of the World Cup squad to reach the milestone – and upon the team’s arrival in Dresden the achievement was recognised by a presentation from All Whites great Wynton Rufer, currently on a FIFA Ambassador’s tour of the World Cup host nation.

“It was great," Riley says. “I’d never had the opportunity meet him before so it’s really cool that he’s here with us and to be here to mark my 50th cap is really special.”

The Football Ferns will have just two trainings in Dresden before taking on the English who share second place in the group after a 1-1 draw with Mexico.

The match kicks off at 4am on Saturday morning (NZT) with live coverage on Sky Sport 2.

Story courtesy of New Zealand Football.

For more on New Zealand football go to www.nzfootball.co.nz

Updated On Thursday, June 30, 2011