Striker Alex Greive says memories of the All Whites’ win against Bahrain in 2009 will drive him on as he presses for a place in the New Zealand line-up to face Costa Rica in Doha.
“I was at the play-off game when we last qualified for the World Cup and it was incredible. It was so special and I remember getting the players’ signatures at the parade the following day.
“I remember every single player from that team and I would love to now manage to do the same as a player,” he told Scotland’s Daily Record.
Greive was just 10 when New Zealand qualified for the South Africa FIFA World Cup finals and he’s now at the All Whites training camp in Spain preparing for the biggest game of his life.
He knows he’ll need to perform well in the friendlies against Peru and Oman if he is to get a place in the starting line-up against Costa Rica on June 15 (NZT).
“I really want to impress in the next two games because every player wants to be on that pitch against Costa Rica.
“I’m sure I’ll get nervous nearer kick-off but at the moment I’m just excited. It would be such a massive moment for New Zealand to qualify for the World Cup again.”
Greive has been the bolter in the All Whites squad, graduating from Northern League football with Birkenhead United to the international stage in only six months.
His chance came after joining Scottish Premiership club St Mirren in January.
Greive said: “I wouldn’t be in this camp, preparing for this massive game if I hadn’t signed for St Mirren.
“I owe them a lot because they helped me make it into this team at the perfect time. They put me in contention.”
As for reaching the World Cup finals in Qatar, Greive says the All Whites would face tough group opponents in Germany, Spain and Japan.
“We wouldn’t be intimidated though.
“We love being the underdogs and we would give it everything we’ve got.”