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Fearless All Whites ready for Russia

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/06/2017

The All Whites will play without fear in their opening Confederations Cup match against Russia, coach Anthony Hudson says.

Ranked 95th in the world, New Zealand take on No.63 Russia in St Petersburg early on Sunday (NZT) in a key game at Krestovsky Stadium.

It will be the fourth time New Zealand have competed at the Confederations Cup, and they have yet to win a game.

But although they'll be playing in front of Russian president Vladimir Putin and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, the All Whites aren't about to be overawed.

"We need to have absolutely no fear of this tournament or the teams that we are coming up against," Hudson said.

"We want to beat these teams and we are going to set out to do that.

"We want to savour every single moment and make sure that when we walk away from the stadium tomorrow night we have no regrets."

All Whites striker and skipper Chris Wood said in such a pressure-filled competition, it was hugely important for the team to enjoy the occasion.

"We cannot go into the match fearing anything or worrying about making a mistake.

"It is all about enjoying the occasion and that's when this team plays their best football. When you are relaxed you play well and that is what we'd like to show."

Both Wood and Hudson say the team knows what needs to be done to upset Russia.

"Everyone one of us has to stick to the game plan," Hudson said.

"Outside of our little group, in the whole world no one expects us to do anything at this tournament.

"We are ranked much lower than them, but we have a huge amount of belief that we can pull something off if we fight for each other."

Wood added: "First and foremost we have to work hard and work hard for each other. We need to go out there and give it our all. If we do that the rest will follow. Our game will come through."

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