Tougher tests await NZ at U20 FIFA World Cup – RNZ

Jackson Jarvie of New Zealand at FIFA U-20 World Cup Photo: Daniel Gollan /
After making a winning start to the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand coach Darren Bazeley is realistic about what is to come.
Kicking off the campaign with a 1-0 win over Guatemala in Argentina was a way for the players to settle their nerves at their first global tournament.
But what comes next will be a tougher test.
New Zealand’s second group game against Uzbekistan on Wednesday morning (New Zealand time) will be a step up according to Bazeley.
“We know that every game we play we have to be at our best. We have to be 100 percent ready technically, tactically, physically to compete with these teams and if we get everything right and stick together and work hard together we’ve now proven and the players believe that they can get results on the world stage.”
Uzbekistan are the champions of Asia and Bazeley is expecting a high tempo approach from the team that needs to win against New Zealand to keep their tournament on track.
“They’re very aggressive, very fit, strong and they press they’re not going to give us much time in possession.”
A draw against Uzbekistan would be enough for New Zealand ahead of their final group game against the host nation on Saturday but that’s not the mindset Bazeley is taking.
“We can’t go into the game trying to draw we have to go into the game trying to win because it’s dangerous going into a game trying not to lose.
“Uzbekistan now having lost their opening game need to beat us so they’ll be coming out even more aggressive. They will have watched us play and probably seen the amount of possession we had and the way we did play around the back a little bit and will probably be thinking ‘we can press that’ so we need to be aware of what they’re probably planning to do.”
Bazeley believes the depth of the squad will help the New Zealanders during a packed group stage that has them playing three games in a week.
He says he has options in every position and will take advantage of impact players off the bench.
“There’s players itching to get on the pitch everybody wants to be a part of it, everybody wants their opportunity.
“So we’ll definitely look at do we need fresh legs because the players that played against Guatemala they put in a real tough shift and it’s hard for them to keep backing it up every time.”
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