All Whites head coach Darren Bazeley was in a bullish mood after his side’s 2-0 loss to Greece, saying: “We’re going to be a really good team.”
In his post-match interview, Bazeley said his team responded well after conceding an early “soft” goal, and that skipper Chris Wood was adamant he deserved to be awarded a penalty early in the match in Athens.
“We’re going to be a really good team. We’re moving towards becoming that team and all of these challenges that we’re having, you know, are gonna help us
“I think we just need that little bit of belief that we’re good enough to win games at this level.
“We knew it was going to be a tough challenge for us, but I thought it was very competitive. I thought we played pretty well in a lot of moments.
“But we’re at a stage where we need to start believing that we can win these games. We came into the game feeling that way, but the goals we conceded we are disappointed with, and the players are disappointed to concede goals like that.
“I thought they reacted really well to that, and it’s a shame that we go down one end and we nearly score, and then it turns around and suddenly we’re one -nil down, and it makes it hard.
“I thought throughout the game, we tried to play a certain style of football, and we’re very close to being a very good team. Yeah, I mean, we’ve made some good chances, had some good pressure during the game, but we couldn’t quite convert it.
“It’s the hardest thing in football, scoring goals, but we are getting closer to getting into better areas more often, and we need people to have that moment.
“We need better moments with our final ball and our finish. So, you know, we’ve worked a lot on getting into good attacking areas, and it’s coming.
“We’re a team that likes to have a lot of possession and try and move the ball and get into good areas, and the next step for us is actually scoring goals and winning games.”
About an incident early the game, when striker Chris Wood went down in a tackle, Bazeley said:
“We thought it was a penalty, you know, and Woodsy’s adamant it was a penalty. I thought it was a really good play and really good movement, and this is where we’re at, where we get into certain areas, and we nearly get these goals.”
Bazeley acknowledged the performance of Greece, who are rated 51st in the FIFA world rankings, while the All Whites are 103rd.
“Greece are a very good team, you know, they’re highly ranked for a pretty good reason.
“They’ve got some good players and they put out a really strong team tonight against us and I thought throughout the game we sort of competed pretty well in and out of possession and at times we played some really nice football but we know we’ve got to get to that level where we’re actually winning games.”
Game played on Saturday November 18, 2023 (NZT)
Georgios Kamaras Stadium, Athens, Greece, 6am (NZT)
Greece 2 (Giannis Konstantelias 10′, Georgios Giakoumakis 29′)
New Zealand 0