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Hudson sure All Whites can do better

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/11/2016

All Whites Coach Anthony Hudson is sure there is better to come from the his team after their winning start to stage three of Oceania's World Cup qualifying process.

The New Zealanders head to Kone to face New Caledonia on Tuesday after a brace from the in-form Marco Rojas brought a 2-0 victory over the same opponents in Auckland on Saturday.

Hudson rated his first match in charge at home after more than two years in the job as "a good win, a solid win, a good start to the qualification campaign".

But a regular refrain in his comments after the final whistle was his belief that All Whites had yet to reach their best.

"We had many, many chances and kept a clean sheet," he said.

"We can do so much better, but very, very happy."

While it was Rojas who found the net, skipper Chris Wood also caught the eye, having a part in both goals, hitting the woodwork and being generally in the thick of the action up front.

"He's a leader," Hudson said.

"You see how hard he works on the pitch. He's not just a striker who wants to get on the end of things and score.

"Off the ball, he sets an example and runs and presses and tries to win the ball."

New Caledonia, with French-based pair of Cesar Zeoula and Georges Gope-Fenepej prominent, did have their moments, especially early in the second half when they had a good spell of possession.

But Hudson said he never really felt under pressure on the sidelines.

"I think they probably only had one real chance and a couple of half-chances," he said.

"But overall we looked solid and we worked very hard."

Stage three of qualifying involves two groups of three, and also in New Zealand's group is Fiji, whom they face home and away in March.

The two group winners go through to the Oceania final, the winners of which will meet South American opposition for a place in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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