New Zealand coach Rickie Herbert has named Tommy Smith as his captain for tonight’s key Intercontinental World Cup playoff clash against Mexico. The Ipswich Town defender has been handed the armband in the absence of West Ham’s Winston Reid, who has been ruled out of both playoff games following an ankle injury picked up in training.
While Reid’s absence will be a huge blow to the All Whites – and another reason the All Whites head into the series as massive underdogs with most football betting outlets – but the West Ham player’s injury does offer the chance for other defenders- in this case the trio of Smith, Ivan Vicelich and Andrew Durante, to step up in his place in a game that will have live football commentary from bet365 and other major websites.
New Zealand were impressive at the 2010 World Cup and went through their group unbeaten. The Mexicans will underestimate them at their own peril, especially given the poor run El Tri have recently been through. Mexico were lucky to qualify for the playoffs- it would have been Panama and not them in this game had the United States not scored twice in second half stoppage time against the former in their final Hex clash.
Herbert has opted for a 3-4-3 formation for this clash, with Glenn Moss starting in goal.
All Whites starting XI to face Mexico:- Moss; Smith, Vicelich, Durante; Christie, McGlinchey, Bertos, Lochhead; Brockie, Wood, Barbarouses