A clinical performance in a 3-1 win over Honduras at Cheonan Stadium in the Korea Republic has given New Zealand a great chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Going into the vital clash, New Zealand had tasted victory at this tournament on only one previous occasion – a 5-1 success over Myanmar on home soil two years ago – but needed to claim a second to put themselves in a good position to go through.
After starting with a scoreless draw against debutants Vietnam and France looming as a very difficult final Group E opponent on Sunday, Darren Bazeley’s side were in need of all three points while Honduras were in the same boat, having been thumped 3-0 by the classy French first up.
With so much at stake, both teams would therefore have been keen to stamp their authority on the game early on but it was the Kiwis who managed to do so, going ahead just seconds after the opening whistle.
Honduras had the kick-off but promptly surrendered possession, allowing Joe Bell to loft a long pass forward and into the path of Myer Bevan. The advancing striker then produced a sublime moment of skill, making light of the rapidly-narrowing angle to fire an unstoppable shot past Honduras goalkeeper Javier Delgado that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.
It was one of the finest goals a New Zealand player has scored at a major tournament and had an inspirational effect on his team mates, who went on to complete the job in composed style. The only danger with scoring so early was that it allowed Honduras plenty of time to get back into the game but the next goal again went to New Zealand as they took control of proceedings, despite enjoying significantly less possession than their Central American opponents.
Bell, who is based in the United States at the University of Virginia, had a hand in that 23rd-minute second strike as well after sending a well-placed free kick into the box which Hunter Ashworth managed to flick in with his head despite Delgado getting a hand to the effort. The closest Honduras came to getting on the scoresheet in the first half was when Jorge Alvarez jinked his way down the right in the 38th minute and put in a teasing ball but couldn’t quite pick out a team mate.
They did manage to get back into the contest soon after the break though as some uncharacteristically sloppy defending from New Zealand gave danger man Alvarez the chance to smash home from close range after following up a shot that came back off the cross bar. The moments following the goal were among Honduras’ best of the game but New Zealand dealt with the pressure well and were soon able to restore their two-goal advantage.
Noah Billingsley had the ball in the net from a corner but the referee had already pointed to the penalty spot, presenting Bevan with the opportunity to notch a rare World Cup brace in the 56th minute. It was one he did not turn down, coolly slotting his effort low to the left of Delgado for 3-1.
Bevan, who recently signed a professional deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps, was clearly in the mood and could have completed his hat-trick ten minutes later, attempting to lob a rampaging Delgado but putting too much on it as the ball dropped over the cross bar.
New Zealand were not made to pay though as Honduras threw everything at them but were expertly repelled by a strong defensive performance and the safe hands of goalkeeper Michael Woud, who had few saves to make but gathered cleanly whenever called upon.
The result means Bazeley’s men are now second in Group E on four points, which is usually enough to make it past the group stages of this event, especially with the four best third-placed teams also going through to the round of 16.
While there is now less pressure to earn a positive outcome, Bazeley will be looking for another impressive display against leaders France on Sunday to take plenty of confidence into the next phase.
New Zealand 3 (Myer Bevan 1’, pen 56’, Hunter Ashworth 23’)
Honduras 1 (Jorge Alvarez 50’)
New Zealand: 1. Michael Woud (GK) (yellow card 79’), 2. Dane Ingham, 3. Sean Liddicoat, 5. Hunter Ashworth, 6. Joe Bell, 8. Moses Dyer (yellow card 76’), 9. Noah Billingsley (17. Logan Rogerson 66’), 10. Clayton Lewis (c), 13. James McGarry (4. Luke Johnson 82’), 15. Reese Cox (yellow card 44’), 19. Myer Bevan (7. Connor Probert 86’)
Substitutes not used: 11. Henry Cameron, 12. Cameron Brown (GK), 14. Jack-Henry Sinclair, 16. Callum McCowatt, 18. Sarpreet Singh, 20. Lucas Imrie, 21. Conor Tracey (GK)
Coach: Darren Bazeley
New Zealand have begun their FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign with a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Vietnam at the Cheonan Sports Complex in the Korea Republic.
The Darren Bazeley-coached team, who have set the goal of improving on the Round of 16 performance from the tournament here in New Zealand two years ago, finished the game the stronger of the two sides but could not convert a host of late chances to claim all three points.
Logan Rogerson, who came on for Henry Cameron in the 69th minute, made a telling impact in the final 20 minutes as the OFC U-20 Champions searched for a winner. In the 76th minute he hit a powerful shot which was well-saved by the Vietnamese keeper Tien Dung Bui and five minutes later he delivered a perfect cross which the New Zealand forwards could not convert.
It was that sort of night for New Zealand as Vietnam, the 19th Asian team to compete at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, frustrated them with a determined display which showed they belong at this level.
It felt like a home game for the men in red as they were cheered on relentlessly by their rowdy fans who made their presence heard in the 6975-strong crowd and could have easily claimed all three points in the closing stages.
New Zealand fans held their breath when substitute Hoang Duc Nguyen had the perfect chance to claim a famous win in the 85th minute but he could not hit the target from close range.
Another substitute, New Zealand’s Lucas Imrie also had a late chance to steal all three points but his header from a Moses Dyer-ball was a tough chance and he could not finish.
The draw sees New Zealand and Vietnam level on one point in Group E behind favourites France who are top after they defeated Honduras 3-0 to open in style.
New Zealand were put under early pressure by the FIFA U-20 World Cup debutants who showed little signs of nerves on the big stage.
Forwards Thanh Binh Dinh and Duc Chinh Ha were a constant threat for Vietnam going forward and could have managed the opening goal but for some good work in goal from Michael Woud who had a busy first half.
Dinh had the best scoring chance early on when he found space in the box but he dragged it wide. Two minutes later, Ha could not convert from close range as Vietnam had their second scoring chance in as many minutes.
Van Hau Doan got in on the act with a long range shot which Woud tipped over the bar with the faintest of touches to keep a clean sheet heading into half time.
New Zealand finished the half as the stronger team and the best chance so far fell to Noah Billingsley from a Clayton Lewis corner, but he could not get his header on target.
New Zealand carried that momentum in the second half when forward Bevan and captain Lewis had half chances they could not convert. Cameron earned a free kick just outside the box but the All White’s shot was always over the bar.
In the second half, Vietnam looked dangerous on the counter-attack, but the last 45 minutes was dominated by New Zealand who found their rhythm. They walked off the pitch disappointed they didn’t get more from the game.
Bazeley made three changes with Rogerson, Lucas Imrie and James McGarry coming into the fold, but for all of the chances the men in white created they could not combine to break down a red wall of defence.
New Zealand are back in action on Thursday night (11pm NZT) where they meet Honduras in what is a vital match in their chances of making the Round of 16.
New Zealand 0 Vietnam 0 HT 0-0
NZ: Michael Woud, 2. Dane Ingham, 3. Sean Liddicoat, 5. Hunter Ashworth, 8. Moses Dyer, 9. Noah Billingsley (20. Lucas Imrie 80’) 10. Clayton Lewis ©, 11. Henry Cameron (17. Logan Rogerson 69’), 14. Jack-Henry Sinclair (13. James McGarry), 15. Reese Cox, 19. Myer Bevan
Subs not used: 4. Luke Johnson, 6. Joe Bell, 7. Connor Probert, 12. Cameron Brown, 16. Callum McCowatt, 18. Sarpreet Singh, 21 Conor Tracey.
New Zealand U-20 rep Henry Cameron wants to make a statement at the upcoming FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Korea Republic.
The 19-year-old, who made his senior debut for the All Whites as a 17-year-old, is looking to use his first age group FIFA World Cup as a springboard to get back into the national squad for the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Cameron is one of five All Whites within Darren Bazeley’s team who are looking to better the feats of the NZ U-20s who made the Round of 16 at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
The Blackpool FC rep wants to make the most of every opportunity as he presses for inclusion in Anthony Hudson’s squad.
“I have had a lot of ups and downs in the All Whites,” he said at the team’s shirt presentation in Auckland, referring to his impressive debut where he also ruptured his ACL ligament in his knee. “For me personally this is an important tour. We know as a group that we are not scared of anyone, we can go as far as we want to go.”
The New Zealand U-20s have arrived in China and had their first training at the Weifang Olympic Stadium. They complete their preparation this week when they take on the Mexico U-20s tomorrow and a Chinese club side on 16 May before travelling to the Korea Republic.
Cameron said the team had a great training camp in Auckland. They won games against Birkenhead United and Forrest Hill Milford United and most importantly, the fitness levels of the team were at a high level.
“It is really exciting for me to play in my first age group national team and be heading to a FIFA U-20 World Cup,” said Cameron. “I think I am ready for it. We are all ready.”
The New Zealand U-20s will face Vietnam, Honduras and France in the tournament from 20 May to 11 June and Cameron feels like they have a well-balanced team to challenge the best.
“We have great experience in the group and it is great to have those guys who have played for the All Whites so with those guys, and the lads that we already have, we have a chance of going far in this tournament.
“This is a great opportunity for everyone. We know that especially when we come up against France it is a chance to show everyone what we are made of if we can match countries like that.”
Cameron wants to have a great FIFA U-20 World Cup to give himself every chance of competing at the Tournament of Champions in June. Hudson will name his squad for the FIFA Confederations Cup on 8 June.
“I hope I have a really good tournament. I hope if all goes well then I will be back in the squad. There is plenty of football to come this year so I want to put my hand up.”
New Zealand’s Group E Fixtures at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic
Vietnam – Monday 22 May 11pm (NZ time)
Honduras – Thursday 25 May 11pm (NZ time)
France – Sunday 28 May 6pm (NZ time)
All matches live on SKY Sport
The FIFA U-20 World Cup is only days away and New Zealand have named an exciting squad to take part in Korea Republic 2017. Darren Bazeley’s squad has a lot of depth and experience including a few senior national team players. We take a look at five of New Zealand’s most experienced and influential players who will be taking part in the tournament from 20 May – 11 June.
Club: Auckland City FC
Clayton Lewis is an All White who has eight senior caps to his name. He made his senior national team debut against Korea Republic in a 1-0 loss back in 2015. Representing his country at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Lewis played every minute of the campaign and also had the honour of scoring New Zealand’s last goal of the group stage against Myanmar. He captained the side throughout their OFC U-20 Championship campaign last year in September, which they won after toppling Vanuatu in the final 5-0. Lewis plays his football with Auckland City FC in the Stirling Sports Premiership and is part of the squad that made it to the final of the OFC Champions League, where he helped City beat Team Wellington 5-0 on aggregate. He will make his second appearance in a FIFA U-20 World Cup finals this year as the captain of the side and will lead his team out against Vietnam in the opening match in Cheonan.
Club: Northcote City FC (Australia)
Moses Dyer, also an All White, has nine senior caps and, like Lewis, made his senior men’s national team debut against Korea Republic in 2015. He also played every minute of New Zealand’s U-20 World Cup campaign that year. Dyer was also part of the All Whites side that won the OFC Nations Cup in 2016 and scored the winning penalty against Papua New Guinea to book their place at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. He continued to be an influence after being part of the OFC U-20 Championship squad and scoring in the final against Vanuatu. He will make his second U-20 World Cup finals appearance at Korea Republic 2017. Dyer currently plays his football with Northcote City FC in the NPL Victoria 2 in Australia. During the summer, Dyer was part of Eastern Suburbs in their inaugural season of the Stirling Sports Premiership. He is an influential player in the U-20 line up and will no doubt be a standout at the FIFA World Cup.
Club: Nike Academy (United Kingdom)
Myer Bevan, a player from Auckland who quickly grabbed news headlines after winning a contract at the Nike Academy in 2016, will be a key player up front after an impressive goal tally for the Nike Academy. Bevan was part of the OFC U-20 Championship squad, scoring five goals in as many appearances at the event. He was the Player of the Tournament and top scorer in the OFC U-20 Championship. He has scored 25 goals for the Nike Academy against clubs like Barcelona, Arsenal, Inter Milan, Manchester United and other world-class teams. Bevan will be a huge asset at the FIFA U-20 World Cup after impressive performances for both the Nike Academy and his country.
Club: Sunderland AFC (United Kingdom)
Michael Woud, New Zealand’s No 1 goalkeeper at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, has made a promising start to his footballing career after signing with Sunderland’s academy in England. Woud achieved a clean sheet at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2015 against Syria, impressively saving New Zealand six times in the group stage game. Against Brazil, Woud made five saves and conceded just one goal, which was a penalty in stoppage time of the match. At the OFC U-20 Championship last year, Woud achieved three clean sheets out of five matches and was handed the golden glove of the tournament. Woud is likely to be New Zealand’s No 1 goalkeeper again at the FIFA U-20 World Cup after his exploits in the qualifiers and further impressive performances for Sunderland’s academy. Recent results at U-18 level include an impressive 2-0 win over Swansea City, a 1-1 draw against Leicester City and a scoreless stalemate against West Bromwich Albion.
Club: Blackpool FC
Henry Cameron is a senior player who has made two appearances for the All Whites. Qualifying for New Zealand through his mother’s heritage, Cameron plays for Blackpool FC where he made his first appearance against Brighton and Hove Albion in a 1-0 win at home at the age of sixteen. On his All Whites debut against Oman in 2015, Cameron set up Chris Wood’s goal, which proved to be the only strike of the game and resulted in Anthony Hudson’s first win since taking charge. Cameron was only 17 during his full All Whites international debut. After a long absence from football with an ACL injury, Cameron made his international comeback against the USA in a 1-1 draw last October in Washington. Now aged 19, Cameron will be a key figure in New Zealand’s FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign, looking to use the experience gained from his involvement in three All Whites camps.
FIFA U-20 World Cup Fixtures:
Vietnam vs New Zealand
22 May, 8pm (NZT 11pm)
New Zealand vs Honduras
25 May, 8pm (NZT 11pm)
New Zealand vs France
Daejeon World Cup Stadium
28 May, 3pm (NZT 6pm)
All games live on SKY Sport
An expanded New Zealand U-20 squad has assembled in Auckland for a training camp ahead of the FIFA U-20 World Cup squad being named next week.
The 30-man squad includes five All Whites internationals in Clayton Lewis, Henry Cameron, Dane Ingham, Moses Dyer and Logan Rogerson as head coach Darren Bazeley looks to settle on his 21-man squad for the Korea Republic.
Bazeley, who famously guided his team to the final 16 when New Zealand hosted the event in 2015, said this week’s training camp is important to their preparation for the tournament from 20 May to 11 June.
The Kiwis have been drawn in Group E of the 24-team tournament and will face powerhouse France, Honduras and Vietnam as they bid to follow in the footsteps of the 2015 team.
“This is a hugely important week for our team,” said Bazeley.
“Our players are scattered all around the world so this training camp will enable us to see where our players are at physically and help us decide our final squad for Korea. The players know they have a huge opportunity in front of them and I am sure it is going to be a very tough squad to select.”
The New Zealand U-20s will train every day this week at QBE Stadium in Auckland and play two games on Tuesday and Wednesday night against Birkenhead United and Forrest Hill Milford respectively.
New Zealand and Vanuatu earned their spots at the FIFA U-20 World Cup after finishing champions and runners-up respectively at the OFC qualifying event in Vanuatu last September. New Zealand saved their best performance for last when they defeated the hosts 5-0 in the final.
Bazeley expects high standards from his group this week as they press for inclusion in the FIFA World Cup squad.
“The guys can remember how special it was two years ago making the knockout rounds of the FIFA U-20 World Cup on home soil and they all want to emulate and try to surpass the 2015 squad performances,” he said.
“We haven’t been able to get a large group together since January, due to so many players now being based offshore, so this is a good chance to get everyone together and back on the same page with how we want to play and then settle on the squad. The depth in this group will help us achieve our aim which is to win games at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea.”
New Zealand open their tournament against Vietnam on Monday 22 May and then face Honduras three days later with both matches at the Cheonan Sports Complex in Cheonan.
They complete their pool matches in Group E against France at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium in Daejeon on 28 May.
New Zealand Football will name the NZ squad for the FIFA U-20 World Cup on Monday 8 May.
New Zealand Greater Training Squad for the FIFA U-20 World Cup (Country/ City, Club, Academy)
Michael Woud, England, Sunderland FC
Cameron Brown, Auckland, Waitemata
Conor Tracey, Auckland , Three Kings
Joshua Dykstra, Auckland, Forest Hill
Hunter Ashworth, USA, University of San Fransisco
Daniel Hayden McHenery, Australia, Brisbane, Western Pride
Luke Johnson, Wellington, Wellington United, Phoenix
Reese Cox, Auckland, Western Springs
Sean Liddicoat, Canterbury, Coastal Spirit
Liam Wood, Wellington, Wellington United, Phoenix
Dylan Wood, USA, State University of Denver
Liam Williams, Hamilton, Hamilton
Dane Ingham, Australia, Brisbane, Brisbane Roar Youth
Jack-Henry Sinclair, Wellington, Wellington United, Phoenix
James McGarry, Wellington, Wellington United Phoenix
Dalton Wilkins, Wellington, Western Suburbs, Ole Academy
Moses Dyer, Melbourne, Northcote City
Joe Bell, USA, University of Virginia
Clayton Lewis, Auckland, Onehunga Sports, Auckland City
Connor Probert, USA, University of Kentucky
Sarpreet Singh, Wellington, Wellington United, Phoenix
Callum McCowatt, Wellington, Western Suburbs, Ole Academy
Owen Parker-Price, Wellington, Western Suburbs, Ole Academy
Dylan Burns, Auckland, Glenfield Rovers
Jake Porter, Auckland, Onehunga Sports
Noah Billingsley , USA, US Santa Barbara
Myer Bevan, England, Nike Academy
Henry Cameron, England, Blackpool FC
Logan Rogerson, Wellington, Wellington United, Phoenix
Lucas Imrie, USA, Loyola University Chicago
New Zealand fixtures at the FIFA U-20 World Cup
-Vietnam 22 May 8pm (11pm NZ time) Cheonan Sports Complex, Cheonan
-Honduras 25 May 8pm (11pm NZ time) Cheonan Sports Complex, Cheonan
-France 28 May 3pm (6pm NZ time) Daejeon World Cup Stadium, Daejeon
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