Here are a few of my thoughts on the All Whites defeat in Auckland this week:
- Once Ricki Herbert announced the lineup, it was apparent that main goal was to get some younger players some time on the pitch before World Cup Qualifications began. He seems to have a strong preference with the 3-4-3 formation which is a nice change of pace. While many other countries seem to be heading towards sitting back and counterattacking with a lone striker, the All Whites put 3 forwards on the field to challenge the back line. Chris Wood continued to show his talent up top. All in all with all of the youth on the field I was not too disappointed in the final score line.
- Jamaica has great speed, and it certainly hurt the All Whites. Their wings had the space they needed to run up and down. The last 2 goals were coming in off of the wings after they had beaten the defenders, leaving Paston with little he could do.
- I think the first goal by Xavian Virgo was a shot rather than a cross. I’ve watched the replay a couple of times and the only Jamaican in the box is more or less standing still near the penalty spot so it’s not really directed towards a teammate.
- I have gone back and forth on whether Rojas earned a penalty in the first half. My thoughts have been that if there was contact between the keeper and Marco, then it was minimal. But at the same time Rojas is trying to keep the ball from going out for a goal kick, not looking to shoot, so to challenge the player is extremely dangerous, and worth a penalty, especially since he didn’t get the ball.
- It was great to see the young players not get discouraged once they fell behind by 2 goals. The one-two between Wood and Rojas was excellent and gave the hosts hope. The set piece goal at the end again showed the fighting Kiwi spirit, and that certainly had to please Ricki Herbert and the home crowd.
- Here’s hoping that Winston Reid injury isn’t serious. He’s been integral to West Ham’s promotion back into the Premier League and with the season heading towards its climax they’ll want to keep the momentum they have built so far and avoid the playoff scenario
- Many people don’t like the Fifa rankings (currently the Faroe Islands are ranked 2 places ahead of New Zealand, so they’ve got a point) which is why I also review what are called the Elo Ratings (link here).One great thing to like about them is they update shortly after the friendly is played, and with this match taken into consideration New Zealand dropped 4 spots. And personally I think they’re all little more realistic (Fifa has the All Whites as the 120th best side, while Elo has them as the 69th best nation in the world, even with Belarus and just behind Austria and Canada). So you tell me, which ranking system seems more accurate?
- I’d love to see another friendly before the OFC Nations Cup, but unfortunately none are scheduled at this time, and considering the next international window is one month away, I would be surprised to see one take place. The next scheduled match is on the 2nd of June against Fiji. Until then I hope to do some articles on the lone New Zealand club in the A-League of Australia, Wellington Phoenix. As well I may also begin previewing other potential CONCACAF foes in the Intercontinental playoff.