ON THE EDGE

New Zealand came into the FIFA World Cup 2010 with an expectation that they would be the whipping boys, but they finished the tournament as the only team not to have suffered a defeat. Even the eventual champions Spain suffered a defeat over the course of the tournament. Much of the success was attributed to the three defenders at the back formation for New Zealand. National team coach Ricki Herbert, though, is willing to try out a few things before his team reaches the 2014 World Cup. New Zealand are extremely close to reaching the second consecutive World Cup.

The only have to negotiate a play-off match from a team in the CONCAF region and it is likely to be Mexico. Ahead of the match with Saudi Arabia in the OSN Cup, Herbert said that he wants to switch to a defensive four formation. This could see only Tommy Smith and Winston Reid as the centre backs, while Tony Lochhead will be playing at left back. It is expected that either Leo Bertos or Ben Sigmund will be picked to play in the right back position. Speaking ahead of this match, Herbert said that he wants New Zealand to be ready for any possible situation. He is willing to try out a few things in this match.

“We’re going to try a whole raft of things and see how it goes. Some might work, some might not. Siggy played at right back against China [last year] and he did a good job. Leo could play fullback but Tony will probably play left back, with Winston, Tommy and Glen Moss in goal. It’s going to be incredibly demanding. But it’s more about, are players comfortable in their roles, do we feel we’ve got the right sort of connections, the right sort of links?” said Herbert.

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