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NZ fine-tune focus for Fiji rematch

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/03/2017

Striker Marco Rojas is hoping a little fine tuning will make a big difference for the All Whites in the return leg of their World Cup qualifier against Fiji on Tuesday.

Second-half goals to Chris Wood and Rojas gave the Kiwis a 2-0 win in Lautoka on Saturday, a pleasing result given the heat, humidity and soft pitch at Churchill Park .

A draw at Westpac Stadium in Wellington will be enough for the All Whites to top Group A, and earn a home and away series against the winners of Group B, currently led by Tahiti.

But Rojas says it's important for the All Whites to keep improving, with the Confederations Cup in Russia later this year a key target.

"We know that come the middle of the year, we're going to be playing against some very good teams," he said.

"If we don't try and continue to improve as a team, then we'll probably come up short against these types of opposition."

Rojas says there won't be any major changes ahead of Tuesday's match, with the focus on just a few small tweaks to the playing structure.

The All Whites will also be looking to dictate the game more, after allowing Fiji - led by prolific Wellington Phoenix striker Roy Krishna - to control the tempo early on in Lautoka.

"We played a bit of the first half at their pace, and that's not what we want," Rojas said.

"We want to play at a higher tempo and try to suffocate them.

"At home we'll be looking to score a few more goals and create a lot more chances."

Chris Wood was absent from training on Monday, receiving treatment for a knock, and it seems likely Shane Smeltz will get more game time if the skipper is being nursed through.

Central defender Andrew Durante says the central focus is on improvement, regardless of which starting line-up coach Anthony Hudson chooses.

The All Whites will be looking to close Fiji down quicker, winning the ball further up the pitch and shifting it at pace into the attacking third.

"We want to press them and get the ball moving a lot quicker," Durante said.

"We want to win, we want to dominate the game."

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