All Whites out to dominate Pacific Islands opponents, starting with Fiji

The All Whites want to put their battling performance in New Caledonia behind them and start dominating Pacific Islands ...
ALAIN VARTANE

The All Whites want to put their battling performance in New Caledonia behind them and start dominating Pacific Islands teams.

New Zealand are out to assert their authority over the Oceania Football Confederation.

Having struggled through the Oceania Nations Cup in June last year before drawing 0-0 with New Caledonia in Kone in World Cup Qualifying in November, All Whites winger Marco Rojas said the aim for the upcoming home and away fixtures against Fiji was to hammer home their status as the top dogs of the confederation.

"We want to go in and dominate from start to finish and really stamp our authority on Oceania.

"Taking the underdog status away and zoning in on the fact we're the biggest team in Oceania and should be playing the type of football against the other teams that shows that status.

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"We'll be trying to do that on this trip and trying to do that in the later qualifiers and building towards becoming a better football team."

Rojas' strong statement has come after All Whites coach Anthony Hudson said earlier this month that it was time for his side to ditch the underdog tag he felt they were holding onto.

Hudson said after watching his side get pipped 2-1 by Mexico and draw 1-1 against the United States, both creditable performances, he knew there needed to be a shift in mentality.

"It was just a feeling I got like 'why are we doing this?'. It's like it was that whole underdog thing, it was just enough for us to compete."

That's all well and good to say, but it seemed a long way off after his side only beat New Caledonia 2-0 at home and then got away with a slightly fortunate scoreless draw in Kone.

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Rojas said the squad was disappointed with those results.

"It was [disappointing] and it's something that we're going to look at on this tour and put into practise on the training field and hopefully these next two games you'll see a more dominant New Zealand team."

The statements of intent from Hudson and Rojas mean the two games against Fiji, in Lautoka on Saturday and Wellington on Tuesday, hold a reasonable amount of importance outside of just getting through to the next stage of World Cup Qualifying.

The team have a chance to back up their talk with action against a team ranked 69 places below them in the Fifa rankings, although Rojas stopped short of saying they would be slamming in truckloads of goals.

"I'd love to predict that, I'm not sure how the game is going to go, but we'd like that to happen.

"What is more important is winning the games and dominating the games, dominating from the first minute to the last minute and using these game obviously for the points in World Cup Qualifying, but also as a springboard to then improve in the games against better opposition and start to dominate little bits and pieces of those games too."

 - Stuff

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