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NZ gathering pace for WC tilt: Reid

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/10/2016
Winston Reid © Getty Images Winston Reid

All Whites skipper Winston Reid says he's relieved to face the more orthodox footballing style of USA after his side's loss to the "Kamikaze" Mexicans.

El Tri, ranked 15th in the world, trumped New Zealand 2-1 in Nashville on Saturday through goals to star forward Giovani dos Santos and Marco Fabian.

However the 88th-ranked Kiwis produced an encouraging performance against their more fancied opponents, netting through winger Marco Rojas and successfully deploying a high-pressing style.

Their showing, as much as the result, provided a much-needed confidence boost after 5-1 and 4-2 losses to Mexico in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

The side travelled to Washington DC on Sunday to take on USA, who coasted past Cuba 2-0 in Havana on Friday.

Reid, a defender for English Premier League club West Ham, anticipated USA would be a more familiar challenge for the Oceanian continental champions.

They may replicate the more defensive style his side was accustomed to facing.

"They'll be a little more compact, whereas against Mexico, they had players all over the pitch," the 28-year-old said.

"It was a little more Kamikaze, whereas this might look more like a normal football match."

The match against El Tri was Reid's first in the white jersey since the side's draw against Myanmar in September 2015.

He felt the All Whites had made solid progress in his absence under coach Anthony Hudson and looked better each time they gathered.

However, much work was yet to be done with World Cup qualifiers approaching and a poor Oceania Nations Cup to shrug off.

This was no more the case than against Mexico, as a strong performance was not rewarded with a victory.

"Rome wasn't built in a day, so we have to take it one step at a time," Reid said.

"That's the core ethic of this group, working hard, being humble and just believing in yourself."

The All Whites will take on New Caledonia in November and Fiji in March as they look to secure a place in Russia.

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