Oman will provide the All Whites with their last warm-up opportunity ahead of June’s crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica in Doha.
The Middle Eastern side will play New Zealand behind closed doors on June 10 (NZT) in Doha, Qatar.
The friendly international will not be broadcast live. The kick-off time is to be confirmed.
The selection of Oman as New Zealand’s final step in the All Whites’ preparation makes sense because:
- Oman are ranked 75th in the current FIFA world rankings, ahead of New Zealand (101st).
- They were a match for Australia who drew 2-2 with them in a World Cup qualifier in March, despite Oman losing seven players to COVID in the lead-up to the game.
- The game will be played in Doha, providing New Zealand with similar match conditions (heat, humidity, off-field environment) as they will have for the game against Costa Rica.
The Oman match gives head coach Danny Hay the chance to work his squad, giving game time to as many players as possible.
Four days’ earlier, New Zealand play Peru at RCDE Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, for which more than 25,000 tickets have already sold.
Danny Hay: ‘We need the entire squad match fit and battle-hardened’
Hay told NZ Football:
“It is vital that we challenge ourselves ahead of the Intercontinental Play-Off but also have the opportunity to try things out. These two games, against Peru and Oman, should allow us to do both.
“Having the opportunity to give minutes to members of the wider squad is really important as you never know what can happen during a game. We need the entire squad match fit, battle-hardened and pushing to make the starting XI against Costa Rica.”
Oman are managed by former Croatian international Branko Ivanković (68) who has managed many clubs in a management career of more than 30 years. He’s also held management roles with the Croatian and Iran national sides.
Oman’s latest international results include a 2-0 win against China (March), a 1-0 win against Vietnam (March), a 2-2 draw with Australia (February) and a 1-0 loss to Saudi Arabia (January).
Main photo: The Oman team from early this year.