Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Confederations Cup Profiles: New Zealand

Let's not beat around the bush. New Zealand will show up in South Africa, get crushed at least two, and maybe three, times, then go home. Consider this--New Zealand has played its opponents in group play (Spain, Iraq and South Africa) six times in the past. They have never even drawn one of these matches and have scored nine goals while conceding 30. Oh, and they have not faced Spain. This does not bode well for the Kiwis come next week.

New Zealand start the tournament off with their most daunting opponent, Spain, on Sunday. After that pasting, there's a three day break before playing South Africa and then another three day break before Iraq get to scoring some goals. When the most capped player on the NZ team is someone named Ivan Vicelich, things aren't going to go well. Fans of the US domestic league can latch the onto four Kiwis playing in the MLS--Andrew Boyens (NYRB), Duncan Oughton (Crew), Simon (not Billy) Elliott (San Jose) and Jarrod Smith (Seattle). Their combined MLS stats: 354 games, 15 goals.

Prediction: Without overstating the obvious, the competition New Zealand will face in the Confederations Cup is a vast jump over the remaining competition in Oceania now that Australia has left that confederation. Try as they might, Vanuatu and Fiji are just not at the level of even Iraq and South Africa. The best case scenario for New Zealand will have them snatching a point from either South Africa or Iraq. A secondary target may be to score a goal at all. Since most of New Zealand's international talent is listed as forwards, they do have a shot. Otherwise, every team gets three games and New Zealand will show up for each of theirs. That may be as good as it gets.

Squad:
GK (3): Mark Paston (Wellington Phoenix), Glen Moss (Melbourne Victory), James Bannatyne (Team Wellington)
DEF (7): Aaron Scott (Waitakere United), Tony Lochhead (Wellington Phoenix), Ben Sigmund (Wellington Phoenix), Ivan Vicelich (Auckland City), David Mulligan (Wellington Phoenix), Andrew Boyens (RBNY), Steven Old (Kilmarnock)
MID (7): Duncan Oughton (Columbus Crew), Simon Elliott (San Jose Earthquakes), Tim Brown captain (Wellington Phoenix), Leo Bertos (Wellington Phoenix), Andrew Barron (Team Wellington), Jeremy Christie (Wellington Phoenix), Chris James (Tampere United)
FW (6): Shane Smeltz (Gold Coast United), Chris Killen (Celtic), Jeremy Brockie (North Queensland Fury), Chris Wood (West Bromwich Albion), Kris Bright (Panaserraikos), Jarrod Smith (Seattle Sounders)

11 comments:

The NY Kid said...

All these team names with Wellington in them are making me hungry.

The Fan's Attic said...

i really like the fact that there is actually a team called "Team Wellington" not just Wellington but Team Wellington.

maybe it's just me.

Nathaniel said...

Not to get the jump on the ESPN schedule post that's sure to come, but all matches in HD? Is it actually possible?

Confederations Cup matches will be available in high definition on ESPN HD, and ESPN2 HD. The high definition telecasts will be offered as a simulcast of ESPN and ESPN2’s Confederations Cup coverage.

Precious Roy said...

"Panaserraikos"

Is that Chinese for Panathinaikos?

ü75 said...

Team Wellington is an affiliate of Wellington Phoenix. TW play in a lower, NZ-only league, while WP play in the A-League.

Panaserraikos were just relegated out of Greece's top flight.

All HD, as far as we know.

hockalees said...

Listen, I don't know how well these guys play soccer back in Newfoundland, but here in the Confidentials Cup, there is a lot of prejudism. They are probably the most disliked race in the entire tournament.

ü75 said...

Thanks Dave.

Mike Georger said...

Needs a 'probably still better than the USA' tag.

/sheep joke

jjf3 said...

obligatory Rovers' fan post:

and they are missing their lone true top-level player - Ryan Nelsen in the D.


/cue the crickets

rcolonna said...

to this day, i still see a tony lochhead new england jersey at gillette stadium at occasional matches. his stay here was undistinguished, to put it kindly. needless to say we about fell over laughing when he was trying to catch on at middlesbrough last off-season.

ü75 said...

Yes, after today, I have to rethink my prediction on New Zealand. They will snatch a point from South Africa and score 3 goals over three games. Also, they still suck, but will show better than the US.