A draw would be good enough to create history, but Junior Football Ferns coach Aaron McFarland is promising a winning attitude from his players in their crunch clash with Mexico tonight, at the Fifa under-20 women's world cup in Japan.
New Zealand only need a draw in Kobe to book their passage into the second round for the first time at an age-group Fifa women's tournament after beating Switzerland 2-1 last Sunday, then stunning hosts and heavyweights Japan with a 2-2 draw.
Mexico are one point behind the Kiwis and need to beat them to leapfrog into one of the two quarterfinal spots available in Group A, something that the coach McFarland says works in their favour, in what he expects to be a tight affair.
“The Football Ferns played them at the world cup last year in a pretty even contest. The under-20s have the same coach but what's different is that Mexico need to chase the game so, depending on the circumstances, it could play out quite different.
“We have to play like we want to win and make the most of our possession. That's been key in both games so far - it's what we can do we when have the ball.
The focus since a draining defensive performance against Japan has been on recovery, something aided by an extra day's rest.
“The recovery's been very good. Most of the players used have had two lots of 90 minutes but those players are also our most experienced and are used to what's required."
- © Fairfax NZ News