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All Whites upbeat ahead of US match

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/10/2016

All Whites skipper Chris Wood says his team will take a confidence boost from Sunday's 2-1 loss to Mexico into their upcoming match against the United States in Washington DC.

Ranked 88th in the world, the New Zealanders were competitive for the full 90 minutes against 15th-ranked Mexico in Nashville, Tennessee.

Their performance as much as the result provided a much-needed lift after 5-1 and 4-2 losses to Mexico when the two teams last met.

Wood, who plays his football for English Championship side Leeds United, said the New Zealanders had worked hard to keep the Mexicans under wraps for much of the game.

"We kept them quiet for most of the game - it took a bit of brilliance to win the game for them, a great move," he said.

"We kept a very good side to minimal chances, and we were able to impose our type of football on them.

"It was a very positive game. I think we've got to take a lot of credit to how we set it up - our tactics, how we played, how we pressed."

Wood says the All Whites' focus now turns to the United States game, boosted by the Mexico result but well aware they need to start again.

"We'll take confidence going into the US game - it's going to be a tough game, they're a good side, but we'll be focused and ready."

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson paid tribute to the way his team had applied themselves in an intense week's build-up prior to the Mexican game.

He says backing up three days later against the world No.22 US team will be a huge challenge.

"We've got a lot of players who aren't playing regular first team football.

"This next game's going to be a real uphill task against a really physical team, but we're going to prepare the very best we can - make sure we're organised and that we finish the tour on a high."

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