Under-pressure Mexico 'good' for New Zealand

SAM WORTHINGTON IN LOS ANGELES
Last updated 12:31 10/11/2013

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Ricki Herbert was swarmed by media as the All Whites arrived in Los Angeles today and the coach took the opportunity to come out swinging.

Herbert was the centre of attention at LAX and despite not being scheduled to be interviewed, he had no choice as 10 Mexican and American journalists stopped him and fired questions while the New Zealand and Australian-based players snuck past unmolested.

After assembling today, the All Whites will have three training sessions in two days in Los Angeles ahead of Thursday's World Cup playoff against Mexico at the Estadio Azteca.

The All Whites were already massive underdogs before captain Winston Reid was cruelled by a freak ankle injury in training.

But Herbert revels in these against the odds situations and pointed out that things weren't particularly rosy in the Mexican camp either.

"The qualification games have been quite tough for Mexico, I mean they've struggled to score at home, nobody predicted where they'd be in the group [fourth in Concacaf] and they're under pressure which from our point of view is a good position," Herbert said.

"It will be pressure for them, can they deal with it, can they handle it? They've never been in a qualification, they probably don't know where Wellington is, they've got to travel all the way across there as well. So we've been through that, we're a pretty resilient group and we'll deal with whatever. We're thoroughly looking forward to it, it's a big game, it's great for us, great for our code and fantastic to be here."

The All Whites are staying at the beachside suburb Torrance and were greeted by a typically sunny California day.

Players will rest and receive massage and treatment this afternoon (US time) before the real work starts on the training pitch tomorrow.

The All Whites have secured facilities at the StubHub Centre, a state-of-the-art sports complex that is home to MLS clubs Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA.

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