17 May 2019

Football Ferns to test themselves against USA

6:33 am on 17 May 2019

The Football Ferns preparations for next month's FIFA World Cup hits top gear today as they take on world number one and World Cup favourites the USA in a warmup game in St Louis.

Abby Erceg.

Abby Erceg. Photo: © Photosport

The USA and New Zealand have met 16 times with the three time World Cup winners having won 14, New Zealand's only victory was their first meeting in 1987.

Former captain Abby Erceg is back after almost a year in retirement. She returned following the departure of former coach Andreas Heraf.

Erceg says what makes USA so good is their depth.

"They have so many quality players, you take one player off and another one comes on with exactly the same skill set if not better, maybe a little bit faster and for us it's difficlut because we obviously don't have as much depth as they do, we've got to make sure that our core groups of players stay healthy."

Erceg says while they have only just come together, they have all played together a lot and cohesion won't be a problem against USA.

And they're keen to make amends for recent losses against them.

A couple of the results haven't been in our favour, they've been no where near in our favour actually so I think these games, especially before a World Cup when both teams are fine tuning things will be a bit more of a competitive game and hopefully we can redeem ourselves from prior performances.

The Ferns go into the fixture with some confidence after defeating Norway 1-0 in Spain - their first win over higher ranked opposition in four years - while the USA are undefeated in their last seven games and most recently beat South Africa 3-0.

Coach Tom Sermanni has 19 of the 23 players heading to France available for this game. Defenders Rebekah Stott, CJ Bott and goalkeeper Vic Esson were not released by their clubs and midfielder Betsy Hassett (broken wrist) are not available for the international friendly.