20 Jun 2010

No change to settled All Whites for Italy match

2:35 pm on 20 June 2010

The All Whites are in a bullish mood ahead of tomorrow morning's second football World Cup pool match with the holders Italy at Nelspruit.

The New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen thinks the pressure was greater in the Bahrain home playoff in the capital.

Nelsen says that was evident in the Slovakia draw, where no one in the team showed any nerves, and he's predicting it wouldn't matter if it was Italy, Brazil or "the greatest team ever in the history of sport".

The New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert's also upbeat about their chances. Herbert thinks the team's done an incredibly good job to put New Zealand football in a marvellous place and they've got a lot of desire.

He says pressure comes with any football match, they'll take it in their stride and the team will be up for it and putting everything they possibly can into the performance.

Herbert notes that their pool's in a very tight position, with all teams level on one point after opening draws, and whatever the outcome the All Whites still have a chance going into the third game, which nobody would've predicted.

The coach has put the recovering Tim Brown on the bench with the veteran Ivan Vicelich remaining in midfield in an unchanged starting XI. He's hinting that his influential midfielder and vice-captain Tim Brown, who's on the mend from a fractured shoulder, is more likely to play in the final pool game against Paraguay.