Oceania Football Confederation > News > OFC Women's Olympic Qualifier > Ferns to play USA in Olympic build-up

Ferns to play USA in Olympic build-up

The match, funded by additional contestable funding from High Performance Sport New Zealand, will kick off a busy year for the Ferns, with Cyprus Cup games against Northern Ireland, Korea Republic and South Africa in February and March, Olympic qualifiers in March and April and European friendlies en route to London if the team qualify and are then approved by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
The team will have played 10 internationals by the time they reach London, with the match against the reigning Olympic champions in Dallas the most testing but potentially most beneficial.
“We have a goal of reaching the quarter-finals in London,” Football Ferns coach Tony Readings says.
“There will be some pretty formidable teams standing between us and that goal. We need to play the best teams in the world to prepare and there is still no tougher game than the USA on their home turf.”
It will be Readings’ first match in charge of the national team after stepping up from the assistant coach role to replace John Herdman in September.
The Ferns are warm favourites to claim Oceania’s sole berth in the 12-team women’s tournament after their rampant form in the eight-nation OFC Women’s Nations Cup in 2010 saw them qualify for both the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the final stage of Olympic qualification – a home-and-away play-off against a yet-to-be-determined fellow Oceania country in March.
Readings says the team’s fourth trip to the annual Cyprus Cup – an event that has seen New Zealand claim the scalps of Italy, Netherlands, Scotland and Switzerland in the past, as well as draws against Canada and France – is another vital piece of the preparation puzzle.
“Korea Republic are one of the fast risers in women’s football and while we don’t know a lot about Northern Ireland and South Africa they’ll be sure to bring a different style. It’s also really beneficial to get an early look at South Africa who have already qualified for London,” Readings says.
“A couple of good results over there and we’ll have some real momentum heading into the Olympic qualifiers.”
Football Ferns Olympic Qualifying build-up
February 11
New Zealand v USA
FC Dallas Stadium, Dallas, USA
3pm (10am Feb 12 NZT)
2012 Cyprus Cup
Group A: England, Finland, France, Switzerland
Group B: Canada, Netherlands, Italy, Scotland
Group C: New Zealand, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Korea Republic
February 28
New Zealand v Northern Ireland
5.30pm (6.30am Feb 29 NZT)
March 1
New Zealand v South Africa
5.30pm (6.30am Mar 3 NZT)
March 4
New Zealand v Korea Republic
2.30pm (3.30am Mar 5 NZT)
March 6
Cyprus Cup finals day
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football.
For more on New Zealand football go to www.nzfootball.co.nz

Related posts