New Zealand remain hopeful they’ll get chance to go into knockout phase

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Midfielder Fin Conchie says he hopes New Zealand can prove to be a “more attacking threat” if the side gets into the Round of 16 at the FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup, despite their 5-0 loss to hosts Argentina.

Speaking after the match, the Wellington Phoenix player said Argentina were “in a different class” and it was disappointing New Zealand conceded early in the game.

“We were on the back foot from there,” he said. “They were amazing players.”

New Zealand can still qualify for the knockout stages if results in other groups go their way, and the Kiwis are one of the four best-performing third-placed teams in the six groups.

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“I don’t think any of our boys have played in front of this many people before so it would be a good experience and we want to play more games like this and, hopefully, in the future we can.

“Hopefully, we can get through to the next round and put up a more attacking threat against another team in the Round of 16.

“We’ve all just got to improve for the next game and be 100%.”

Darren Bazeley … ‘a tough evening’.

Head coach Darren Bazeley told a sideline interview:

“It was an incredibly tough evening for us.

“We came up against a very good Argentinean team tonight.

“I thought we started okay. For the first 10 minutes, we had a little bit of possession. We looked relatively comfortable for 10 minutes and then we conceded a goal and it gave them a lot of tempo, and it hurt us a little bit.

“They’re a good team, and it was really hard for our players to compete today.”

Bazeley said his team “weren’t quite at it” against Argentina and maybe the effort put into getting the two good results in previous group games had meant the third match was too much.

“Even after half-time, you know, we came out and we had a sort of plan to be a little bit more compact and to concede a penalty that early was a little bit disappointing. I thought it was maybe a bit harsh. It lifted them (Argentina) again.

Bazeley said the match had provided a “great learning experience” for his players.

“We need to keep developing. Our players need to keep getting better and if we are to compete at this level, everybody has to be 100% on it, every game.”


Games played on Saturday May 27, 2023 (NZT)

New Zealand 0
Argentina 5 (Ignacio Maestro Puch 14′, Gina Infantino 17′, Luka Romero 35′, Brian Aguirre 50′ pen, Alejo Véliz 86′)

Uzbekistan 2 (Shakhzodjon Nematjonov 9′, 20′)
Guatemala 0


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