New Zealand will play China on March 25 and then meet Japan four days later.
With Oceania’s FIFA World Cup qualifying path pencilled in to again end with a home-and-away tie against an Asian nation, All Whites coach Ricki Herbert sees the early taste of Asia as vital to achieving New Zealand’s first ever successive World Cup qualification.
“It’s really important,” he says.
“We didn’t have the opportunity to do this last time so it’s great, with Japan having just come off a World Cup and China being the force they are.”
Herbert won’t name his squad for the matches until well into the New Year but has signalled he will have an eye on building a team capable of qualifying for and competing in Brazil.
“It’s a chance to regroup and look at what will be needed in the campaign,” he says.
“It’s going to be really valuable to bring some new players in and I say that with World Cup qualifiers looming next year as well. It’s going to be important to give some players a lot of All Whites exposure.
“The squad won’t be completely different but there certainly will be some new faces.”
FIFA World Cup qualifying will begin in Oceania with the football competition at the Pacific Games in New Caledonia in late August. The top three teams will be joined by New Zealand in stage two where each team meets the others home and away over three FIFA windows in 2011 and 2012.
The first four of those matches are scheduled for the October and November FIFA windows next year.
All Whites tour of Asia – March 2011
New Zealand v China
Nanning, China
March 25, 2011
Kickoff tba
New Zealand v Japan
March 29, 2011
Kickoff tba
Head to Head:
New Zealand v China
Played 11: NZ won 6, China won 3, 2 draws
New Zealand v China (in China)
Played 4: China won 3, 1 draw
Last 5 meetings:
Jan 10, 1982, Singapore (WCQ) – China 1 New Zealand 2 (Wynton Rufer, Steve Wooddin)
Aug 16 1990, Lower Hutt – New Zealand 2 China 0 (Rodger Gray 2)
Aug 24, 1990, Auckland – New Zealand 1 China 0 (Noel Barkley)
Jun 26 1996, Beijing – China 2 New Zealand 0
Nov 14 2000, Guangzhou – China 1 New Zealand 0
Head to head:
New Zealand v Japan
Played 4: NZ won 3, Japan won 1
New Zealand v Japan (in Japan)
Played 1: NZ won 1-0
Sept 9, 1981, Kuala Lumpur – Japan 0 New Zealand 1 (Keith Nelson)
Sept 25, 1983, Auckland (OGQ) – New Zealand 3 Japan 1 (Steve Sumner 2, Allan Boath)
Oct 7, 1983, Tokyo (OGQ) – Japan 0 New Zealand 1 (Steve Sumner)
Jun 18, 2003, Paris (FCC) – Japan 3 New Zealand 0
WCQ= FIFA World Cup Qualifying
OGQ = Olympic Qualifying
FCC = FIFA Confederations Cup
Story courtesy of NZ Football.
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