You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

All Whites to face Northern Ireland

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/02/2017 Daniel Gilhooly

World No.35 Northern Ireland will be New Zealand's first and toughest opponents in their lead-up to the Confederations Cup in June.

New Zealand Football confirmed a three-match warm-up programme, starting in Belfast on June 2.

The All Whites will then face Irish club opposition in a closed game in Dublin on June 7 before facing Belarus in Minsk five days later - a match which had previously been announced.

The schedule received the thumbs up from New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson, who wants his team to be competitive in the Confederations Cup, starting against hosts Russia in Saint Petersburg on June 17.

"This gives us the chance to play top quality opposition and logistically it suits us as we get the games we need and don't waste any time with extra travel," he said.

"The key for us is now we have a good amount of time together to help us prepare for the tournament."

The 111th-ranked All Whites will have their hands full against world No.35 Northern Ireland, who will be preparing for a World Cup qualifying game against Azerbaijan.

The Michael O'Neill-managed Northern Ireland enjoyed a fine series of results last year, including reaching the last 16 at the European Championship.

O'Neill said in a statement an All Whites side featuring the likes of West Ham defender Winston Reid and in-form Leeds striker Chris Wood would be no pushovers.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon