6 Sep 2017

All Whites confirm Japan fixture

6:25 pm on 6 September 2017

The All Whites have confirmed they will play an international football friendly against Japan in the leadup to their Intercontinental playoff against the fifth best South American team for a spot at the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

All Whites player Ryan Thomas celebrates his goal with team mates.

All Whites player Ryan Thomas celebrates his goal with team mates. Photo: Photosport NZ

New Zealand will face Japan on October 6 at Toyota Stadium in Nagoya just a month before the playoff.

The All Whites recently beat the Solomon Islands 8-3 on aggregate to make it through to the Intercontinental playoff.

Currently Argentina are the fifth best ranked team in South America.

All Whties coach Hudson said the fixture, which will be for the Kirin Challenge Cup, will be great preparation for the November playoffs.

"We are really pleased to have this international friendly with Japan confirmed," said Hudson. "They are a top team and they are a team in form as they have qualified for the World Cup next year - their sixth World Cup in a row which is a great achievement. They are a great team for us to play now that we have qualified for the Intercontinental Playoff in November.

"Coming up against world-class opposition away from home will give us an ideal build-up. We had options for a second game but we want to get our players back to their clubs early to help cope with the heavy schedule we face either side of this window. So this window ticks both boxes for us."

Japan are ranked 44th in the world while New Zealand is ranked 123rd.