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Mexico stronger by far, says NZ coach

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/10/2016
Anthony Hudson © REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad Anthony Hudson

All Whites boss Anthony Hudson admits his side would be soundly beaten by Mexico on paper, but hasn't given up hope of a shock result.

The 88-ranked Kiwis take on the world No.15 side in Nashville on Sunday afternoon (NZT) in their first match since their shaky Oceania Nations Cup win.

Sunday's match will be followed by a tussle with the United States on Wednesday, before the side plays New Caledonia in a World Cup qualifier in November.

The continental champions will then look to gear up for an appearance at the Confederations Cup in Russia in mid-2017.

Hudson told reporters on Saturday a number of senior players, including skipper Winston Reid, defender Andrew Durante and star striker Chris Wood, would boost the All Whites with their returns.

The trio would enable the side to play a more positive style of football, alongside wingers Marco Rojas and Kosta Barbarouses.

"Really, Mexico should be beating us comfortably," Hudson said.

"This is a gauge for us to see exactly where we're at.

"Then we have the Confederations Cup, qualifiers, and a period of time to make sure we put ourselves in a position by next year where we can do a job."

Hudson said he wouldn't look to make wholesale changes in the side's two fixtures, preferring to bed the side in with qualifiers around the corner.

However one or two tweaks would be made from game to game.

"I'm mindful we're going to play a very intense game tomorrow and then we've only got two days before the next game," Hudson said.

"There's a couple of positions that are probably going to work harder than others because of their roles."

The All Whites will face a Mexico side missing star striker Javier Hernandez but boosted by offensive weapons Giovani dos Santos and Oribe Peralta.

Wood, who has scored seven goals in his last 13 games for club Leeds United, said El Tri were dangerous with their quick-passing style.

"They have some great players and we know that we will have to be at the top of our game to do well," the 24-year-old Wood said.

"These are the games we need if we are going to progress as a nation."

New Zealand have lost all four of their encounters against Mexico since 2010, including both legs of their 2014 World Cup play-off.

NEW ZEALAND VS MEXICO, SINCE 2010:

* March 4, 2010 in Los Angeles: Mexico 2 NZ 0

* June 1, 2011 in Denver: Mexico 3 NZ 0

* November 13, 2013 in Mexico City: Mexico 5 NZ 1

* November 20, 2013 in Wellington: NZ 2 Mexico 4

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