Fatigue and mix-ups prove costly as New Zealand 3-0 lose to Venezuela

New Zealand have lost their opening game at the FIFA U-17 Men’s World Cup, outgunned 3-0 by an enterprising Venezuelan side.

Misunderstandings in the New Zealand defence cost them the first two goals, while fatigue and poor marking cost them a third.

Main photo: Goalkeeper Matt Foord can’t reach Leenham Romero’s shot as Venezuela score their third goal.

The end-of-game stats told the story.

Venezuela managed 21 shots, eight on target, while the Kiwi had only six attempts, of which two were on target.

Both sides started with high energy, chasing hard and working to settle nerves.

The first real chance of the game fell to New Zealand in the 17th minute when Luke Supyk drove hard to the byline, pulling the ball back for Matt D’Hotman to strike first time.

Venezuela ‘keeper Jorge Sanchez did enough to steer the ball away for a corner.

Almost immediately, Venezuela broke and David Martinez’s shot took a deflection off goalkeeper Matt Foord, enough to send it wide.

Midway through the first half, Martinez forced a save from Foord with the ‘keeper fully stretched to turn his shot around the post.

In the 29th minute, Martinez put his side ahead after a disastrous mix-up between New Zealand’s Noah DuPont and Foord.

DuPont was indecisive when a stray ball came inside the New Zealand half; Foord came 35 metres out of his box to help. Neither took responsibility and Martinez stole the ball and his shot from 40+ metres sailed into the empty net.

Goalkeeper Matt Foord can’t get back to stop David Martinez’s long shot reach the New Zealand goal.

When the sides turned around at half-time, Martinez was a surprise absentee, substituted after being his team’s most dangerous player, and already having played for the full Venezuelan national team.

The second half started scrappily, with neither side able to take control.

Coach Bullock made a triple substitution just after the hour, bringing Luke Mitchell, Stipe Ukich and Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues into the game.

Fatigue started to take its toll on both sides, with the game slowing down and the Venezuelans, in particular, seeking attention from trainers.

A free kick awarded just outside the area gave New Zealand an opportunity in the 77th minute but Adam Watson skied it over the crossbar.

New Zealand’s hopes of getting something from the game disappeared with three minutes of normal time to go.

Foord made another miscalculation with a long pass that didn’t quite reach his defender.

Substitute Leenhan Romero nipped in, stole the ball and despite two New Zealanders chasing, he slipped it past Foord.

Leenham Romero scores Venezuela’s second goal.

In the 90th minute, substitute Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues showed his ability, dribbling into the danger zone and having his shot blocked at the last moment.

Given the number of stoppages for cramps, it was no surprise when the officials signalled 11 minutes of added time.

The additional time worked in favour of Venezuela whose Romero added a second goal, carefully steering his shot inside the far post seven minutes into stoppage time.

Coach Martin Bullock’s reaction

READ MORE: Coach Martin Bullock on U-17 Men’s World Cup loss: ‘The boys gave their all’ >>>>

Match stats

First half

New Zealand / Venezuela

Shots: 3 / 10
Shots on target: 1 / 4
Possession: 44% / 56%
Passes: 147 / 197
Pass accuracy: 71% / 76%
Fouls: 3 / 4
Offsides: 0 / 2
Corners 4 / 4

Full game

New Zealand / Venezuela

Shots: 6 / 21
Shots on target: 2 / 8
Possession: 44% / 56%
Passes: 285 / 371
Pass accuracy: 67% / 74%
Fouls: 7 / 11
Offsides: 1 / 4
Corners 4 / 6


Group F

Game played on Sunday November 12, 2023 (NZT)
Si Jalak Harupat Stadium, Bandung

New Zealand 0
Venezuela 3 (David Martinez 29′, Leenhan Romero 87′, 90+7′)

Game played on Monday November 13, 2023 (NZT)
Si Jalak Harupat Stadium, Bandung

Mexico 1 (Tahiel Adrián Jiménez Sánchez 75′)
Germany 3 (Noah Darvich 29′ Max Moerstedt 38′, Eric Emanuel da Silva Moreira 53*)



New Zealand

Matt Foord (GK), Marley Leuluai (captain) (Jesper Edwards 83′), Anton Isaako (Gabriel Sloane-Rogers 62′), Dylan Gardiner, Matt D’Hotman (Athan Thompson 83′), Adam Watson, Luke Supyk (Stipe Ukich 62′), Noah DuPont, Nick Murphy, Nathan Walker, Anaru Cassidy (Luke Mitchell 62′)

Subs not used: Josh Brown (GK), Eamonn McCarron (GK)

Yellow card: Cassidy (22′), Gardiner (66′)


Jorge Sanchez (GK), Yiandro Raap (Pablo Ibarra 83′), Rai Hidalgo, Angel Borgo, Luis Balbo, Jose Correa, Giovanny Sequera (Miguel Vegas 77′), David Martinez (Leenhan Romero 46′), Juan Arango (Junior Colina 83′), Nicola Profeta, Lucciano Reinoso (Alejandro Cichero 61′)

Subs not used: Jesus Lara, Salvador Bolivar, Santiago Silva, Frangel Huice, Maiken Gonzalez


Referee: Mutaz Ibrahim (Libya)
Assistant: Khalil Hassani (Tunisia)
Assistant: Ahmed Hossam Taha (Egypt)
Fourth official: Yudi Nurcahya (Indonesia)

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