Head coach Darren Bazeley says his New Zealand U-23 squad is showing its versatility at the OFC Olympic qualifier tournament in Auckland.
“They’re pretty flexible,” he said in his post-match interview after the side beat Vanuatu 8-0 in Wednesday’s semi-final at Go Media Mt Smart Stadium.
“We can play in behind teams; we can play into our patterns; we can keep the ball … we can use our width … and they’re very capable of making really good decisions on the pitch.
“I think they’re a really good group to work with. They work hard and they really want to play well and develop and they want to get into their own careers (and) move onto a pro’ club.”
Bazeley said he wasn’t sure what to expect ahead of the semi-final but his team had prepared well.
“They were itching to play today and I thought we came out and, you know, we created a lot of chances here, scored a lot of goals and probably left a lot on the table as well.”
New Zealand will play Fiji in the final at North Harbour Stadium on Saturday September 9, kicking off at 7pm.
Game played on Wednesday September 6, 2023
New Zealand 8 (Jesse Randall 3’, 12’, Oskar van Hattum 10’, 39’, George Ott 17’ pen, Ryan Verney 43’, Aaryan Raj 57’, 72’)
Watch Bazeley’s interview
Game to be play on Saturday September 9, 2023
New Zealand v Fiji
North Harbour Stadium, Albany, 7pm