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Junior All Whites draw displeases coach

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/05/2017

A lethargic New Zealand outfit has spurned several late chances to draw 0-0 with Vietnam in their FIFA Under-20 World Cup clash in Cheonan.

The Junior All Whites finished the game the stronger of the two sides but couldn't find a way to unlock the most beatable opponents of their group.

The Oceania champions, who have set the goal of improving on the round-of-16 exit when they hosted the tournament two years ago, looked far stronger after the late introduction of capped All White striker Logan Rogerson.

Yet Rogerson couldn't get his side over the line, with a powerful shot saved by Vietnamese keeper Tien Dung Bui and a tantalising cross left unconverted.

Another substitute, New Zealand's Lucas Imrie, had a late chance to steal all three points but his header from a Moses Dyer pass missed the target.

A defensive Vietnam, meanwhile, successfully stifled the Kiwis for much of the match while creating their own odd chance.

Head coach Darren Bazeley was less than pleased with his troops' display, despite having four All Whites in their starting line-up.

Monday's draw would make knockout qualification all the more difficult.

"We know that we're going to have to work very hard and perform better if we're going to do what we set out to," Bazeley said.

"They started on the front foot and we're off the pace."

Group E favourites and European champions France, meanwhile, opened with a straightforward 3-0 defeat of Honduras.

The Junior All Whites next face the Hondurans in Cheonan on Thursday.

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