New Zealand banking on Championship players
RICKI Herbert is hoping Plymouth’s Rory Fallon and Middlesborough’s Chris Killen can deliver the goals to give New Zealand a World Cup to remember.
Fallon and Killen were named up front in the side to face Slovakia in today’s Group F match in the Royal Bafokeng stadium in a team which also contained captain Ryan Nelsen from Blackburn and Tommy Smith from Ipswich.
New Zealand head coach Herbert wants more from the 2010 tournament than the souvenir he received from the nation’s only previous encounter at the World Cup finals in 1982.
Herbert, a central defender who played for Wolves in the mid-1980s, still has the shirt of Brazil star Socrates hanging up in his home in New Zealand, a legacy of a 4-0 defeat by Brazil in a group phase when they lost all three matches.
Victory over Slovakia would give New Zealand their first-ever World Cup triumph and Herbert said: “It’s been a long time, 28 years, and it’s good to be back.
“It’s a distant memory but a fond memory. I have still got the shirt and hopefully he’s still got mine. It was great. They fielded their best 11 against us and it was arguably the best Brazilian team they have ever put on the park.
“The players have worked hard to bring the nation to a World Cup and it’s a special time for New Zealand. We’re in really good space and just itching to get our World Cup campaign under way.”