Head coach Martin Bullock believes the strength of his bench was the decisive factor in New Zealand’s 4-1 win against Fiji, a result that takes his side to November’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru.
Speaking after the final whistle at the OFC U-17 Championship semi-final, Bullock said:
“Fiji put up a great fight.
“We knew if we kept going, the strength of the boys coming off our bench would be potentially the decisive factor.”
Bullock, who rotated his squad throughout the tournament, said the result was “absolutely fantastic”.
“The boys, and the staff, the whole group, have been incredible, since we got together in Auckland; since we got in Fiji.
“We’ve had difficult circumstances some of the time, that I won’t go into now, but the boys, I can’t speak highly enough of them.”
Main photo: Martin Bullock … “absolutely fantastic” result.
After being awarded the Player of the Match for his hat-trick performance, New Zealand’s Adam Watson said he thought the tournament had been a “great experience”.
The Stoke City youth player said: “I just gave my all, tried my best.”
He acknowledged the vocal New Zealand supporters in the crowd, saying they had been the team’s “12th man”.