Ferns coach happy with 'positive' performance

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 05:00 19/06/2014
Rosie White
Getty Images
SINGING IN THE RAIN: Rosie White of New Zealand celebrates with Betsy Hassett after scoring for the Silver Ferns.

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It speaks volumes that the Football Ferns were not satisfied with Monday's 1-1 draw with world No 6 Brazil in Auckland.

If the All Whites had pulled off such a result there would have been calls for a street parade.

But New Zealand's women's team, ranked 20 in the world, are done with celebrating draws.

The Tony Readings-coached side beat Brazil in Switzerland last year - the first victory by a New Zealand team at any level over the South American powerhouse.

They plan to do the same in the second and final friendly at Taupo's Owen Delany Park tonight.

"The performance was positive, we played well in all elements of the game," Readings said of Monday's match, played in torrential rain at Mt Smart Stadium.

"But the thing which will make us hungrier for the next game is the fact that we felt we deserved more. We felt we deserved to win, we hit the crossbar a couple of times and had a couple of penalty decisions turned down.

"We had more quality chances than they did and while they did dominate some periods of the game, they always will, because they're Brazil.

"The performance we were happy with but not the result. That gives us something to strive for in the next game."

Readings is likely to make changes to his starting XI tonight to keep Brazil on their toes.

The visitors are at full strength apart from one glaring absentee - five-time world player of the year Marta.

"It's a stronger team than the one we beat last year in Switzerland," Readings said.

"Cristiane, Rosana and Debinha are three world class strikers that played the other night but didn't play us last year."

The Ferns are building towards October's World Cup qualifiers in Papua New Guinea and progression from Oceania should be a formality.

Canada is hosting next year's World Cup while a medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio is seen as a realistic ambition.

"I hope people are seeing we are consistently performing now," Readings said.

"It's easy to have one-off results but consistently against the top-10 teams in the world we are really competitive now and at times better."

To go to the next level, Readings said his side needed to become more ruthless in front of goal.

"We're now in a place where we can play through opposition teams, with effective possession work. But for us probably the biggest gap is converting those chances. But the team is still quite young and there's still a lot of potential that's yet to be realised."

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- The Dominion Post

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