Striker Indiah-Paige Riley says walking onto Auckland’s Eden Park for New Zealand’s opening game at the FIFA Women’s World Cup would be “a dream come true”.
Riley (21) hopes to be in the Football Ferns starting line-up after giving her all in nine weeks of training camp followed by starts against Vietnam and Italy in warm-up games.
She was widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s best performers in the win against Vietnam in Napier.
“I think I’ve done the best that I could but whoever Jitka (Klimková) chooses, I know they will go out and give their heart and soul for their country, family and themselves,” she told NewstalkZB host Jason Pine.
“Whether it’s me or someone else, it will be the best choice for the team.”
Riley said her performance in the 2-0 win against Vietnam was “one of the best times of my life on a football field.”
Being selected to start was a reward, she believed, for putting everything she had into every session during the nine-week training camp leading up to the selection of New Zealand’s 23-player World Cup squad.
The training camp had been tough but was good for the players.
“We really bonded and came together,” she said.
Friday’s 1-0 loss to Italy behind closed doors had provided the team with an opportunity to play a team from Europe, useful as two of New Zealand’s group opponents, Norway and Switzerland, were European.
“The team morale is high but obviously, we’re our harshest critics so we wanted to go out and do better. We have things to work on and it’s good to see what those areas are ahead of the World Cup,” Riley said.
Listen to Indiah-Paige Riley’s interview
You can listen to Indiah-Paige Riley’s full 10-minute interview with Jason Pine here: