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Time for the All Whites to dominate: Rojas

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/03/2017

Actions must speak louder than words when the All Whites meet Fiji in their World Cup qualifying match in Lautoka on Saturday, winger Marco Rojas says.

The New Zealanders, training this week in Wellington ahead of the first game in the home-and-away series, must stamp their dominance quickly, Rojas believes.

The memory of last November's scoreless draw with New Caledonia in their Oceania World Cup qualifying group still smarts, and the Kiwis can't risk a similar performance against Fiji.

"We know we're a good team and we're good enough to win these games," Rojas said.

"But football's a funny game sometimes - if you're not mentally prepared then it evens out the field.

"We want to dominate from start to finish, and really stamp our authority on the Oceania group."

Rojas says the All Whites want to see a return to the form they showed against much higher ranked opposition during last October's American tour.

Led by West Ham defender Winston Reid - injured and unavailable for this World Cup qualifying series - the New Zealanders lost 2-1 to Mexico before drawing 1-1 with the US.

"We're the biggest team in Oceania, and we should be playing the type of football against other teams that shows that," Rojas said.

"What's more important than goals is winning the games and dominating the games - dominating from the first minute to the last."

With New Zealand ranked 112th in the world, and Fiji 181, there should be little question over the outcome.

But All Whites striker Shane Smeltz says the presence of Wellington Phoenix teammate Roy Krishna in the Fijian team adds an extra edge on Saturday, and in the return match in Wellington three days later.

"We know Roy, we know his strengths and he's certainly one of their key players," Smeltz said.

"I guess it's a good thing we've worked with him and we know him a little bit. But I dont think there'll be any mate-ship out there once we cross that line.

"We're clear favourites in this - our destiny is in our own hands.

"Everyone's going to be on their toes, and we're going to make sure we get the right result."

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