New Zealand v Curacao Preview
New Zealand vs. Curacao
Al Muharraq Stadium, Bahrain
Sunday 10 October 2021
Kick-off at 5 a.m. (7 p.m. local time)
Watch live on Sky Sport NZ
When the players step onto the pitch at Al Muharraq Stadium in Bahrain tomorrow, it will mark the end of nearly two years away from senior men’s international football for Aotearoa New Zealand.
The All Whites last played in November 2019, a narrow 1-0 loss to Lithuania three months after Danny Hay started. 23 months later influenced by COVID-19, they can finally start over.
Of course, that’s not the whole story. Half of the now 20-man squad, down from the initial 21 after Dalton Wilkins had to retire with injury, were part of the Tokyo 2020 squad that reached the quarter-finals in July. The Olympic team spent a month at camp together, a period that Danny Hay considered extremely important in establishing the style of play and team culture within the team:
“It was critical. After such a long time between games, we needed a meaningful time together to implement what we wanted to do on the pitch, as well as for the team to get to know each other well.
Due to travel restrictions, the assembled squad is made up entirely of players from outside Australia and New Zealand.
Players from 12 different countries are represented: 4 from Denmark, 3 from England, 2 from Italy and the United States and 1 from Belgium, Finland, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway , South Africa and Turkey. There are also five uncapped players who will potentially be online to debut: Kelvin Kalua, Niko Kirwan, Joseph Champness, Matthew Garbett and Marko Stamenic.
“I think it is a testament to the strength of the talent that we are developing and the success they are enjoying abroad, that we can build a team without any players from New Zealand and Australia.” Danny Hay said when announcing the team.
Watch Danny Hay preview the game for Sky Sport NZ
Sunday’s opponent Curaçao will be a good test for the team. Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the squad has a strong Dutch influence, like head coach Patrick Kluivert, and the most recent squad included eight former Dutch age group players. The ex-Barcelona striker can draw on top-level European experience across the squad, highlighted by brothers Bacuna, Glasgow Rangers’ Juninho and Cardiff City’s Leandro, who have a total of 117 Premier League appearances between them. .
Curacao’s last game ended in a 4-0 defeat to Wednesday’s opponent Bahrain, but with 3 goals scored in the final 6 minutes as Curacao looked to equalize, that doesn’t reflect the overall game. match.
Danny Hay takes nothing for granted and respects the challenge Curaçao poses:
“They have quality players. We all know the Dutch style. They offer real threats and that is why they are ranked 79 in the world and we are currently in the 120. “
You can watch the game on Sky Sport NZ on Sunday October 10th. Kicks off at 5 a.m. in New Zealand with coverage starting at 4.30 a.m.
The men’s national team against Curaçao:
Stefan Marinovic (25 caps) Hapoel Nof HaGalil, Israel
Added article: Saturday 09 October 2021