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All Whites set for four team tournament

 The All Whites are set to take their next steps under the reign of new coach Fritz Schmid in June as part of a four-team tournament in Mumbai that will also feature hosts India, Chinese Taipei and Kenya. 

The Intercontinental Cup will be held from June 1 to 10 and will be an action-packed event with the teams all set to face each other once in a round-robin format before the two highest-placed sides meet in the final.

Schmid will lead the All Whites for the second time in Mumbai after beginning his reign in March with an international friendly against Canada in Spain, in which his charges performed well but fell to a 1-0 defeat.

Currently sitting at 133rd on the FIFA world rankings, the Intercontinental Cup will provide a stern challenge for New Zealand as their three opponents are all ranked higher. India (97) are among the top 100 sides in the world while Kenya and Chinese Taipei are not far off that mark in 113th and 121st respectively.

New Zealand Football Technical Director Andreas Heraf says the Intercontinental Cup will provide the All Whites with a chance to continue putting strong foundations in place as they build towards qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

“It was exciting to see the team return to action in March for the first time since the Intercontinental Playoff against Peru and we are looking forward to seeing what can be achieved with our new coach at the helm,” he says.

“This tournament will be invaluable for Fritz as he looks to put a team together capable of competing with the best in the world and making it all the way to Qatar.”

The All Whites will create history at the tournament regardless of the results as they are yet to be hosted by India, the two nations clashing only once before in a scoreless stalemate on neutral ground in Kuala Lumpur in 1981. They have never met Kenya so that meeting between the pair will also be a milestone.

Schmid’s side will meanwhile have a proud history to protect against Chinese Taipei, also commonly known as Taiwan, as New Zealand have faced them on 12 occasions and are yet to lose after notching 10 wins and two draws.

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