NZ beats Serbia 1-0 in Soccer World Cup warm up...
A great story for a minor New Zealand sport; its not rugby or rugby league; not really football at all, but soccer. But another magnificent chapter in New Zealand Soccer's history. Its best since its last and only previous entry into world cup finals in 1982. It is really a great sporting achievement in New Zealand sporting history. Go for it the All Whites!
New Zealand's stunning 1-0 victory over fellow World Cup qualifiers Serbia on Saturday was the greatest in their footballing history, claimed the 'All Whites' coach Ricki Herbert on Sunday.
The 49-year-old former defender - capped 61 times and who was a member of the Kiwi squad that played in the 1982 World Cup finals on their only previous appearance at football's showpiece tournament - was also delighted with the performance of his rank outsiders.
"It was without doubt the greatest footballing victory in our history," Herbert told Austria press agency APA referring to the Serbian clash, in which Shane Smeltz' first-half goal proved the difference.
"But I was even more satisfied with our performance," purred Herbert, who had a spell in English football with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Herbert, who played in two of the New Zealanders three matches at the 1982 World Cup where they failed to garner a point, said the performance would be a real boost to morale ahead of their Group F campaign.
In South Africa they will face defending champions Italy, Paraguay and debutants Slovakia.
"This match boosts the confidence of everybody," said Herbert.
"We have shown what we are capable of," added Herbert, who was especially pleased as two of his key players were absent in the form of Middlesbrough striker Chris Killen and New Zealand-based midfielder Tim Brown, who is injured.
Whilst Herbert admitted that despite the victory against a strangely subdued Serbian side his aim at the finals, which run from June 11 to July 11, remained modest.
"We are still outsiders," said Herbert.
"My country lost all its matches at the 1982 World Cup finals and we want to change that record," he added.
New Zealand have one more friendly to play prior to ending their preparations in Austria, against another qualifier Slovenia on June 4 in Maribor. Good luck NZ All Whites!
Serbia - who are drawn in Group D against three-time winners Germany, Africa Cup of Nations finalists Ghana and Asian powerhouses Australia - will look to regroup and gain a morale boosting victory over non-qualifiers Poland in their final friendly on June 2 in Kufstein, Austria.