All Whites to play USA

The World No 93, who earlier this month announced an international friendly against Mexico on October 8, confirmed today they will play against the USA three days later in Washington D.C. on October 11.
The OFC Nations Cup champions, who are expected to welcome back the likes of captain Winston Reid, Henry Cameron, Storm Roux and Shane Smeltz for the tour, will face a great challenge when they come up against the World No 14 Mexico and the World No 26 the United States. Hudson described it as a massive occasion for New Zealand Football.
“This has got to be one of the biggest windows we’ve had in quite a few years playing against two world-class sides,” said the 35-year-old. “The States and Mexico are two teams that always compete well at the FIFA World Cup and they both have large followings so we’re hoping for some big crowds to really test ourselves.”
The USA made a big impression at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil when they drew with Portugal (2-2) and defeated Ghana (2-1) to make it to the round of 16. They lost 2-1 to Belgium in the knockout stages.
The All Whites are looking forward to the challenge of facing the Jürgen Klinsmann-coached side at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in front of 46,000 American fans.
“They’re a very strong physical team that are a big threat on the counter attack,” he said. “The manager Klinsmann is a great motivator, they always seem to play with a lot of passion and they’re a team that are extremely hard to beat. We hope for a big home crowd which will be a great test for us to showcase ourselves against a very talented team.”
The All Whites have played the USA only twice in their history. They lost 2-1 at Richmond in 2003 when Vaughan Coveny was on the scoresheet for New Zealand and they went down 2-1 in Guadalajara in the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup when Chris Zoricich scored his only international goal with a late free-kick.
Hudson said both fixtures against the USA and Mexico would be vital for their preparation for their OFC Round Three Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup in 2016 – 2017 and the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
“These are the games we need. From October it will give us 12 months to really gauge where we’re at as a team and what we need to improve on to beat the teams come next year. It really is a perfect window for us, the 12 months gives us a great opportunity to put ourselves in the best possible position to compete at the highest level.”
Hudson has been in regular contact with the All Whites in recent time and said the players are buzzing about this international window. The logistics are perfect – they are playing two matches with only a two hour flight in between.
Hudson wants his team to make a statement that they are capable of competing with top international teams with the Intercontinental Playoff at the end of next year in mind.
“These games are a dream for a lot of players and coaches so we’ll be preparing in a way that we’ve never done before because we want to make the most out of this huge occasion.”
All Whites tour of the USA
Game 1 v Mexico
When: Saturday October 8
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
Game 2 v USA
When: Tuesday October 11
Where: Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington DC
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football

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