Coach Darren Bazeley: ‘Today was a day for defenders’

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New Zealand U-19 coach Darren Bazeley says the defensive performance of his squad was key to their 2-0 semi-final win against Tahiti at the OFC U-19 Championship.

“Today was a day for defenders,” he said, praising their organisation against a Tahiti side that was able to take away the New Zealanders’ usual passing patterns.

“I thought we managed the game really well.”

The result, which gives New Zealand automatic qualification to the 2023 FIFA U-23 World Cup in Indonesia, means the side has scored 30 goals in their five games at the tournament and conceded none.

Bazeley said the team’s objective had been to qualify for the World Cup, which was achieved by reaching the tournament final.

As for Sunday’s final against Fiji, Bazeley said: “The boys are super keen to do that as well.”

Going into the final, the New Zealand squad was carrying a few injuries, he said, but a team would be selected capable of winning the tournament.

READ MORE: Match details >>>>

Job done. The New Zealanders celebrate at the final whistle.

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