NELSPRUIT, SOUTH AFRICA – New Zealand have wrapped up their on-field preparations for the FIFA World Cup with a training match against fellow finalist Chile in Nelspruit on Wednesday.
Played in three 30 minute periods, the match was not classed as an official international but instead a chance for both sides to try different combinations and give fringe players time on the pitch.
New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert took near-full advantage of the opportunity, making eight substitutions and three positional switches throughout the match.
After two even half hour spells, Chile shaded the affair with two goals in the final third.
“I think we got pretty much everything we wanted,” said Herbert after the training run.
“The first two periods we went with a stronger side and didn’t make too many changes for 60 minutes and though we were very comfortable.
“Everybody was going to get a shot so the last 30 was always going to be tough for us so I’m very pleased.”
All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen did not travel to Nelspruit but instead stayed at the team’s base camp near Johannesburg to recover from an ear infection. He is expected to be fit to play Slovakia on June 15.
On Thursday the squad will recover or train in two groups tomorrow and will be joined in the evening by Tim Brown who arrives from New Zealand on an afternoon flight.
New Zealand: 1-Mark PASTON (GK/23-James BANNATYNE 61), 2-Ben SIGMUND, 3-Tony LOCHHEAD (18-Andrew BOYENS 74), 4-Winston REID (15-Michael MCGLINCHEY 43), 5-Ivan VICELEICH, 7-Simon ELLIOTT (captain/21-Jeremy CHRISTIE 31), 10-Chris KILLEN (17-David MULLIGAN 61), 11-Leo BERTOS (13-Andy BARRON 77), 14-Rory FALLON (9-Shane SMELTZ 31), 19-Tommy SMITH, 22-Jeremy BROCKIE (20-Chris WOOD 47).
Substitutes not used: 12-Glen MOSS (RGK), 16-Aaron CLAPHAM, Cole PEVERLEY.