New Zealand 2017 Confederations Cup profile
FootyOn provide a 2017 Confederations Cup New Zealand profile, as we analyse all eight nations taking part at the tournament, which kicks off on June 17th.
The All Whites, as they are nicknamed, have continued their tradition of qualifying for every other Confed Cup as they take part in their fourth – after missing out last time in 2013.
English boss Anthony Hudson has called up his 23 players straight away, though was unable to include usual captain Winston Reid of West Ham United, who is ruled out through injury.
But 2016/17 Championship top scorer Chris Wood takes the armband instead, and will lead the line in a squad mixed with youth and experience.
Ten of the 23 ply their trade in Oceania (NZ or Australia), with three now in England’s second-tier and five elsewhere in Europe. The rest play in USA, Canada, South Africa and Indonesia.
Veteran striker Shane Smeltz, who played in England with Halifax Town and AFC Wimbledon over a decade ago, may turn 36 in September, but the Kiwi’s second-top scorer in history can use his experience to help them in a tough Group A.
Other notable call-ups include English-born Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith, Sunderland starlet Sam Brotherton, Marseille-owned Bill Tuiloma, former Panathinaikos loanee Kosta Barbarouses, 17-year-old full back Dane Ingham and PEC Zwolle winger Ryan Thomas.
The All Whites have two warm-up friendlies against Northern Ireland and then Belarus, before heading to Russia for their opener against the hosts, who they are 9/1 with Sky Bet to beat.
So, read on for our New Zealand 2017 Confederations Cup profile…
Confederations Cup record
The Oceania nation have taken part in every other Confederations Cup since their first showing in 1999 in Mexico.
In total, this is now their fourth appearance, but they have always been bottom of their group.
Despite that, they did claim their first point in their last Confed Cup in 2009, 0-0 against Iraq, and have scored twice in total (one apiece in 1999 and 2003).
Current strike duo Wood and Smeltz, plus keeper Glen Moss, also took part in the last Confed Cup campaign, as well as their undefeated 2010 World Cup run – drawing their three group games in South Africa.
How they qualified: 2016 OFC Nations Cup winners
New Zealand qualified for this tournament as winners of last year’s Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Nations Cup.
With Australia playing in Asia now, the Kiwis are the standout team Down Under and they defeated then-hosts Papua New Guinea in the final to reach the Confed Cup.
Coach: Anthony Hudson
American-born Englishman Hudson is a young, up-and-coming manager who’s already in his second job in charge of an international team, despite being only 36.
The son of former Chelsea, Arsenal and England midfielder Alan, Hudson junior didn’t have much of a playing career himself, but turned to management aged 27 with USA outfit Real Maryland Monarchs.
He then returned to England to become a coach with Tottenham’s reserves, but shortly landed the Newport County job in 2011, aged 30.
Then-Spurs boss Harry Redknapp even likened Hudson back then to being “a young Jose Mourinho”.
Hudson incidentally spent time studying under the current Manchester United boss, as well as legendary Argentina tactician Marcelo Bielsa. That was just before he was made Bahrain manager in 2013.
He led the Gulf nation’s Under-23 side to claim the Gulf Cup of Nations title and then their senior side to third at the 2014 WAFF Championship.
Hudson became NZ boss in 2014, and oversaw their 2016 OFC Nations Cup success. At his age, and already with so much experience, he has a bright future ahead of him.
Key player: Chris Wood
Leeds United striker Wood comes into this tournament on the back of his best-ever club season, having topped the Championship scoring charts with 27 and managed 30 in all competitions.
The in-demand 25-year-old will also skipper the All Whites in the Confed Cup, so it remains to be seen if he can thrive on that extra responsibility.
Wood is set to become a half-centurion for his nation this competition, and is already well on his way to becoming leading marksman for them too.
Currently on 19 goals in a New Zealand shirt, he needs just 10 more to surpass the retired Vaughan Coveny.
The former West Bromwich Albion and Leicester City frontman didn’t score in the 2009 Confed Cup or 2010 World Cup, but was an important part of their 2016 OFC Nations Cup campaign – netting four times.
Player to watch: Ryan Thomas
After starting out as a talented young winger for Kiwi club WaiBOP United, he earned a move to Europe in 2013 to Dutch top-flight team PEC Zwolle.
He’s been a regular ever since, playing in the Eredivisie over 100 times – scoring nine and making 17 assists – and is still only 22.
Although they are not one of the giants in the Netherlands, Thomas has helped them to two trophies so far – the KNVB Cup and Johan Cruyff Shield.
His most notable performance to date was in the former competition final, when he scored twice when Zwolle stunned Ajax 5-1 in 2014.
Thomas has played just nine times for New Zealand to date, but has two goals to his name, which came in their last two fixtures.
The 2015 Oceania Footballer of the Year could be key to the All Whites getting their maiden Confed Cup victory.
New Zealand have been placed in Group A, along with tournament hosts Russia, Euro 2016 champions Portugal and 2015 CONCACAF Cup winners Mexico.
They face the home nation on June 17, followed by the Aztecs on June 21 and then Cristiano Ronaldo and co on June 24.
The top two teams qualify for the semi-finals.
Full New Zealand at 2017 Confederations Cup squad (23)
Foreign teams’ nations mentioned in brackets.
Stefan Marinovic (SpVgg Unterhaching, Germany), Tamati Williams (RKC Waalwijk, Netherlands), Glen Moss (Newcastle Jets, Australia)
Andrew Durante (Wellington Phoenix), Thomas Doyle (Wellington Phoenix), Storm Roux (Central Coast Mariners, Australia), Michael Boxall (SuperSport Utd, South Africa), Kip Colvey (San Jose Earthquakes, USA), Themi Tzimopoulos (PAS Giannina, Greece), Deklan Wynne (Vancouver Whitecaps, Canada), Sam Brotherton (Sunderland, England), Tommy Smith (Ipswich Town, England), Dane Ingham (Brisbane Roar, Australia)
Bill Tuiloma (Marseille, France), Clayton Lewis (Auckland City), Michael McGlinchey (Wellington Phoenix), Ryan Thomas (PEC Zwolle, Netherlands), Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory FC, Australia), Alex Rufer (Wellington Phoenix)
Chris Wood (Leeds Utd, England), Monty Patterson (Ipswich Town FC, England), Shane Smeltz (Wellington Phoenix FC), Kosta Barbarouses (Wellington Phoenix)
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