New Zealand won’t hold back

A draw could be enough to put the All Whites into the second round, providing Italy versus Slovakia finishes in a lower-scoring draw.
They have already drawn against the other two teams in Group F but Paraguay pose the greatest threat of them all with their attack-minded side.
But having worked hard to get themselves into the position New Zealand are now in – on the verge of qualifying for the last 16 for the first time – Herbert is not prepared to let the opportunity slip.
“I think it has been an outstanding World Cup. What we have done so far is incredible and it has gone pretty deep back home. We are all really proud,” Herbert says.
“We haven’t been on the world stage for 28 years [New Zealand’s only other FIFA World Cup appearance saw them lose all three matches and concede 12 goals] and we wanted to be credible and get results. We now have a unique opportunity of taking it one step further.
“I don’t think we will hold back. I think we are competitive and no different to a lot of sides at this World Cup. Our aerial dominance has caused a lot of teams problems and hopefully we can do it again.
“Paraguay have some wonderful players but so did Italy and they got little from us. It is a fantastic position to be in and we will wake up tomorrow really looking forward to it.”
Defender Ivan Vicelich says the side has grown in confidence having arrived in South Africa with no one giving them a chance.
He promises the players are keen to show their opening two results were no fluke.
“I don’t know if it was a miracle but it has been a great experience for the whole team,” the Auckland City captain says.
“We have grown a lot over the last four years during the qualifying campaign. We have a confidence about ourselves and we have shown that in the last two games. We are going to give it our best, like we have in the last two games.
“It is a real opportunity. Two weeks ago people would not have thought we would have a chance of making the second round. It is going to be very tough. We just have to focus and go into it with the same mindset as we went into the last two.”
New Zealand’s only previous meeting with the South Americans saw them lose 3-2 in an international friendly 15 years ago in Santiago, Chile.
Blackburn Rovers defender Ryan Nelsen missed training on Wednesday with a stomach upset but Herbert is confident his captain will be fit to play.
Story and photo courtesy of www.fifa.com

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