PREVIEW: Packed stadium expected for All Whites match against Ireland

posted in: All Whites, News

The All Whites expect to play the Republic of Ireland in front of a packed Aviva Stadium with fans keen to farewell local legend James McClean.

With 24 hours to go before the friendly international in Dublin, more than 41,000 tickets have been sold, largely driven by the farewell appearance of McClean (34) who has flagged his retirement from international football.

It will be quite a contrast to their last game, played against Greece in an empty Athens stadium last weekend.

Assuming he plays, the Wrexham midfielder will finish with 103 caps, one of only seven players to earn 100 caps for Ireland.

Main photo: The All Whites train ahead of Wednesday’s match against Republic of Ireland. Photo credit: NZ Football.

All Whites assistant coach Simon Elliott.

Acknowledging McClean’s part in the fixture, All Whites assistant coach Simon Elliott told a pre-game media briefing:

“I think it will be a great occasion. One of the big moments will be celebrating over a hundred caps and the last game for McClean. Hopefully, the fans will celebrate that in the right way.”

Elliott said that despite Ireland’s recent poor run of form, they’ll be difficult opponents for the All Whites.

“A really tough game, European opposition. We need to be a little more clinical in both boxes. It’s exactly the kind of challenge we want and we’re looking forward to it.”

Skipper Chris Wood said he hoped to contribute more game time than the 45 minutes he managed in last weekend’s 2-0 loss to Greece.

“I’m hoping so. I’m coming back from injury. It’s one of those (where) I want to play as long as I can for my national team. I love being a part of it and love to try and help and win games for this team.

“But also, when I do come off and things like that, it gives other people the opportunity to stake the claim for them.

“We’ve got a lot of good strikers here, and they’re going to continue to push me for the years ahead.”

Wood faces the prospect of being marked by Nottingham Forest teammate Andrew Omobamidele who is in the Irish squad.

“He’s a good player,” Wood said.

“He’s a very hard worker. He gets stuck in and he’s technically very good.”

Brentford defender Nathan Collins is the latest withdrawal from the Ireland squad, having returned to his club with an ankle ligament injury.

Media briefing

Match facts

The only previous fixture between the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand was Danny Hay’s first game in charge, in November 2019. Ireland won 3-1.

New Zealand have not won in 11 meetings with European nations (nine losses, two draws), losing the last eight in a row.

The All Whites’ last win against European opposition was in a friendly against Serbia in May 2010.

Republic of Ireland have lost two of their last 15 friendly matches, losing 3-0 to England (November 2020) and 2-1 to Norway (November 2022).

Ireland have lost their last two home games (against Netherlands and Greece) but have not lost three in a row at home since October 1972.


Republic of Ireland

Gavin Bazunu (Southampton)
Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool)
Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth)

Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Ryan Manning (Southampton)
Liam Scales (Celtic)
Shane Duffy (Norwich City)
Dara O’Shea (Burnley)
Andrew Omobamidele (Nottingham Forest)

Josh Cullen (Burnley)
Jayson Molumby (West Bromwich Albion)
Alan Browne (Preston North End)
Jason Knight (Bristol City)
Jamie McGrath (Aberdeen)
Mark Sykes (Bristol City)
Andy Moran (Blackburn Rovers)
James McLean (Wrexham)


Evan Ferguson (Brighton and Hove Albion)
Adam Idah (Norwich City)
Callum Robinson (Cardiff City)
Chiedozie Ogbene (Luton Town)
Mikey Johnston (Celtic)
Troy Parrott (Excelsior, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur)

Manager: Stephen Kenny

New Zealand

Max Crocombe (2 caps) Burton Albion FC, England
Alex Paulsen (0 caps) Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand
Michael Woud (5 caps) Ventforet Kofu, Japan

Tyler Bindon (2 caps) Reading FC, England
Michael Boxall (45 caps) Minnesota United, USA
Liberato Cacace (17 caps) Empoli FC, Italy
Tim Payne (33 caps) Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand
Nando Pijnaker (14 caps) Sligo Rovers, Ireland
Tommy Smith (50 caps) MK Dons, England
Finn Surman (0 caps) Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand
Dalton Wilkins (2 caps) Kolding IF, Denmark

Joe Bell (15 caps) Viking FK, Norway
Matthew Garbett (16 caps) NAC Breda, Netherlands
Clayton Lewis (24 caps) Macarthur FC, Australia
Callum McCowatt (14 caps) Silkeborg IF, Denmark
Sarpreet Singh (10 caps) FC Hansa Rostock, Germany
Marko Stamenic (16 caps) FK Crvena zvezda / Red Star Belgrade, Serbia

Joe Champness (8 caps) Adanaspor, Turkey
Alex Greive (11 caps) St Mirren FC, Scotland
Eli Just (18 caps) AC Horsens, Denmark
Max Mata (6 caps) Shrewsbury Town, England
Ben Waine (10 caps) Plymouth Argyle, England
Chris Wood (72 caps) Nottingham Forest, England

Head coach: Darren Bazeley


Referee: Urs Schnyder (Switzerland)
Assistant Referee 1: Marco Zürcher (Switzerland)
Assistant Referee 2: Pascal Hirzel (Switzerland)
Fourth Official: Neil Doyle (Ireland)


Game to be played on Wednesday November 22, 2023 (NZT)

Ireland v New Zealand
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, 8.45am (NZT)

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