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Fiji aim to be flexible against All Whites

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/05/2016

Fiji will rely on flexibility in their game plan as they try to topple Oceania Nations Cup favourites New Zealand in the tournament opener in Port Moresby.

Coach Frank Farina wants the Fijians, who will be spearheaded by Wellington Phoenix striker Roy Krishna, to be adaptable to whatever the All Whites throw at them in the pool encounter on Saturday.

"We will be unpredictable," he said.

"The old coaching cliche is that we have to have a plan A and plan B.

"If one thing is not working we have to be able to change. We need to be flexible to change during the game whether we play high pressing, or drop off, or defend deep."

Farina's squad contains 10 players from the side that qualified the country for the Rio Olympics.

The former Socceroos coach said Fiji were ready for the All Whites.

"New Zealand are the favourites, but if we want to be successful, we have to play them and we have to beat them at some stage of the tournament."

New Zealand are without their most high-profile player, West Ham United defender Winston Reid.

But they still have plenty of experience in the likes of Chris Wood, Rory Fallon and Michael McGlinchey, who like Reid played in the 2010 World Cup.

But the All Whites' experience at the 2012 Nations Cup in the Solomon Islands, where they fell to a shock 2-0 defeat to New Caledonia in the semi-finals, hasn't been forgotten.

Coach Anthony Hudson, who wasn't part of the "horror in Honiara", said his players would go into the tournament with cautious confidence but also plenty of respect.

"I must make it absolutely clear that we approach the Nations Cup with humility and a lot of respect for our opponents," he said.

"We know what we have to do, but there is no way we underestimate any of our opponents."

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