Analysis of New Zealand NT Ahead of Intercontinental Cup 2018 India
The inaugural edition of Hero Intercontinental Cup is to take place in Mumbai in which the host nation India will play against New Zealand from Oceania, Kenya from CAF and Chinese Taipei from AFC. First it was reported that from CAF region South Africa will participate in the tournament but later due to them hosting the KOSAVA Cup, South Africa Football Association have made it clear that they won’t be taking part in the tournament after which AIFF started to find their replacement on warfoot basis and finally got the nod from Kenya.
This tournament is a kind of follow-up by Hero Tri-Nation series 2017, in which India, St Kitts and Nevis and Mauritius had taken part where India were crowned the winners.
Intercontinental Cup is being considered as a preparatory tournament for the ‘Blue Tigers’ for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup in January 2019, before which Stephen Constantine & Co. will probably feature in SAFF Cup in Bangladesh. Although after recent news of India clasping hand with middle-east nations to form a new ally, the SAFF Cup is in bit uncertainty which makes this competition very crucial.
Four times OFC Nations Cup Champions New Zealand had announced it’s 23 Men squad for the tournament. After the failure of the ‘All Whites’ to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, New Zealand Football(NZF) has sacked their English Gaffer Antony Hudson who was been with the team for the past three years. Under his guidance the team had been crowned the 2016 OFC Nations Cup champions.
Following the sacking of Hudson, NZF appointed Fritz Schmid, a Swiss football Coach as the Head Coach of the team who previously served as the Assistant Coach of Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur and was Assistant Coach for seven years for Swiss champions FC Basel. This is the first tournament for the All Whites under the guidance of Schmid.
Among the 23 members in the squad, no star player is there as many of it’s players will be missing the Intercontinental Cup due to injury and some of them were currently playing in MLS(Major League Soccer). A fresh younger side is set to participate in the tournament for New Zealand who are approaching this tournament as a good scope to test their reserves against comparitively weaker sides.
● Squad Analysis :
Max Crocombe will be the team’s first preference in playing XI. The Salford City goalie have played for New Zealand U-20 & U-23, in march 2018 he had played with the New Zealand main team against Canada in the International friendly in which it had ended in favour of Canada. Along with Crocombe, Michael Woud a reserve player of Sunderland A.F.C and Nik Tzanev are also in the list of goalkeepers.
○ Defence :
Tom Doyle, Left-back from Wellington Phoenix FC is well known for his attacking play and speedy overlaps. Doyle has been the part of the team since 2014 also played in 2016 OFC Nations Cup. Ingam will be playing as the right-back, the young right-back of Brisbane Roar has played in AFC Champions League Qualifier at the age of 17 and will be having some good experience facing teams like India, Kenya etc. Boxall the experienced centre-back has played for Auckland City and Central United. The match against Chinese Taipei will be Boxall’s debut match for the National team. Brotherton will be another Centre-Back along with Boxall. Brotherton is currently playing in English Club Sunderland.
○ Midfield :
Among the 23 members, Tim Payne from Eastern Suburbs and Clayton Lewis from Scunthorpe United are quite experienced as both had represented the nation 13 and 14 times respectively. Sarpreet Singh, an Indian origin Player, was a part of Wellington Phoenix and will play in the central- midfield role along with Lewis. Ridenton, a player from A-League side Newcastle Jets and Cameroon from Limerick will be the another of the two Midfielders.
○ Forward :
Noah Billingsley is set to make his maiden appearance for the New Zealand National team in this tournament. He has represented the U-20 Side of New Zealand. Bevan who has completed his youth career in Nike Academy is currently plying his trade for the Swedish side Husqvarnna FF, had been a part of the ‘All Whites’ team since 2017 and played two matches. Beside these players Jai Ingham brother of Dane ingam, Moses Dyer, De Jong are also in the squad.
○Current FIFA Ranking: 80
● Probable XI and Formation :
Max Crocombe (GK)
● Team Rating :
○Goalkeeper : 6/10
○ Overall Rating: 6.25/10
● Fixtures :
○ 2nd June 2018: Kenya VS New Zealand
○ 5th June 2018: New Zealand VS Chinese Taipei
○ 7th June 2018: India VS New Zealand
All the matches will be played in Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai at 8:00 PM(IST).
● Recent Form:
Out of the last six matches played, New Zealand just won only 1 game, levelled 2 games, lost 3 games. But it is a new beginning for New Zealand after the appointment of Schmidt. So we need to wait and see the form of the Kiwis under the new manager.
● Writer’s Take :
The squad is literally inexperienced but any way Boxall, Bevan had scored in their last matches against Canada and Peru. So the host nation India will not face that much difficulty on facing the ‘All Whites’. The only thing is the team was playing under the new gaffer so we still can’t judge his strategy.
My prediction is that New Zealand can complete the tour as Runners or will finish in third place.