11 Jun 2019

Women's Football World Cup: Sermanni excited about Football Ferns chances

5:05 pm on 11 June 2019

Football Ferns coach Tom Sermanni says he's just as excited about this FIFA women's World Cup as he was for his first.

New Zealand Football Ferns Coach, Tom Sermanni.

New Zealand Football Ferns Coach Tom Sermanni. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sermanni took over the role in October last year when previous coach Andreas Heraf stood down following complaints from many of his players.

The Glaswegian moved to Australia in the late 1980s and coached their national women's side on two occasions, taking the team to the World Cup twice.

Sermanni also spent two years in charge of the USA team and was an assistant coach when Canada went to the 2015 World Cup.

Since taking over, Sermanni has helped rebuild the morale in the Football Ferns side with players now concentrating about the game on the field rather than personal issues off it.

This year's tournament will be 64-year-old's fourth world cup and one he's delighted to be part of with the New Zealand side.

"Exciting, it's kind of like going back to where I started with the Australian team," Sermanni said.

"I had them at their first World Cup and then took them back later and we were in a similar situation where we still hadn't won a game and they were still at that level of development.

"It's that type of scenario with New Zealand and a lot of similarities with a sense of experience and players and players who feel ready now to go into a World Cup and actually make an impact."


The Football Ferns celebrating their triumph at the 2018 Nations Cup in New Caledonia Photo: PHOTOSPORT

In 2007, after three previous winless tournaments, the Matildas finally won a group game and advanced to the knockout round for the first time.

New Zealand has been to four previous World Cups and they're still chasing their first win.

"There's always been expectation in this team and amongst the players, we've got a really solid core of professional players now who play all over the world," Sermanni said.

"So when you've got that and with the experience these players have they have a certain expectation, the want to play well individually and collectively, but they also want to get results."

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Sermanni believes now is the best time for New Zealand to claim their first win at a World Cup and even go as far as reaching the knockout stage of the competition.

"There are times when you want to play the game and there are times when you want to do something more concrete.

"If this was the first World Cup for New Zealand then you'd say you just want to play well and enjoy the experience, but for some of the players this is their fourth World Cup and they want to get a result so I think it's good that they have something specific to aim for."

New Zealand open their World cup campaign against the Netherlands in Le Havre overnight, followed by games against Canada and Cameroon.

Canada are ranked fifth in the world, the Netherlands eighth, New Zealand 19th and Cameroon 46th.

Women's Football World Cup graphic

Photo: RNZ / Suneil Narsai