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Mexico friendly for All Whites

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/08/2016

The All Whites will play Mexico in an international friendly in the United States in October.

Anthony Hudson's side will travel to Nashville, Tennessee, for the October 8 clash with the No.14-ranked side as preparations for a potential Intercontinental play-off match for the 2018 World Cup in Russia continue.

"For me, Mexico are one of the top teams in the world and you saw that at the World Cup in Brazil where they were incredible," Hudson said.

"This team will be as good, if not better, than the fifth-best team in South America. So it is very important for us to go and play them, albeit in America.

"This game will give us a real benchmark for where we will need to be in 12 months' time to see where we are at and to prepare[for the Intercontinental play-off]."

Mexico are familiar foes to the All Whites. The two teams squared off in the 2013 Intercontinental play-off for a place at Brazil.

The All Whites were thumped 9-3 on aggregate over the two legs.

Hudson hopes to have his strongest team for the October fixture.

Skipper Winston Reid, Shane Smeltz, Ryan Thomas, Storm Roux, Henry Cameron, Alex Rufer, Deklan Wynne and Glen Moss are all likely to return after missing the OFC Nations Cup in Papua New Guinea.

"We were missing quite a few starting players at this last tournament," Hudson said.

"In the past, going to places like South Korea and China we have fielded a team with lots of debutants but when we are up against it we step up. I don't expect anything less [against Mexico].

"I expect us to go there full strength and put on a strong performance."

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