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Self belief still there: All Whites

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5 days ago

Goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic says the All Whites remain resolute in their belief they can compete with the world's best teams at the Confederations Cup.

New Zealand, outclassed 2-0 by tournament hosts Russia in the opening match at St Petersburg, next face the much higher ranked Mexico in a second group match in Sochi on Thursday (NZT).

The 17th-ranked Mexicans underlined their quality with an opening 2-2 draw against European champions Portugal.

A Portuguese team, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, hit the front through Cedric Soares in the 86th minute but Hector Moreno found an equaliser for Mexico in stoppage time.

Marinovic, a stand-out performer for New Zealand in the face of relentless Russian pressure, says his side still have belief in their prospects.

"Of course it is still there," the German-based stopper said.

"No one in this team is negative and never has been. That is one thing that if you want to be in the All Whites, you need to have that belief."

Marinovic said the creation of late chances to Ryan Thomas and Tommy Smith against Russia were reason for optimism.

Their fighting loss to Mexico, when the teams last met, was also cause for confidence.

The All Whites went down 2-1 in one of their better performances under coach Anthony Hudson.

"We were a bit unlucky in that game. I felt that we played well enough to get a result," he said.

"Thinking about that game and running through it in my brain, I felt their style of play gave us a little bit of an advantage. The way we played created a lot of chances for us so I don't see why that can't be the same this time around."

Deklan Wynne, who was busy at left back, admitted it was difficult to open their campaign against a Russian team motivated to perform in front of expectant home supporters.

He was also upbeat about the challenge ahead, which features a third group match against Portugal in St Petersburg on Sunday (NZT).

"Mexico are a team who likes to keep the ball which will allow us to put them under pressure and get in their half like we did in the last game," Wynne said.

"I think their style suits us a bit more because Russia were quite direct at times. Mexico won't be as direct, so hopefully we can put them under pressure and create a few chances."

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