All Whites forward Kosta Barbarouses: ‘We’ve taken massive strides’

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New Zealand forward Kosta Barbarouses remained upbeat after his side’s loss on penalties to Tunisia at the four-nation ACUD Cup tournament in Egypt.

“We’ve taken massive strides and I think that performance, I think everyone back home should be proud of that,” he said in a post-match interview.

“At the end of the day, in the tournament game at the World Cup, where we want to be, that’s a draw, that’s a point.

“And the boys have learned from the penalty experience as well.”

New Zealand lost the game 4-2 on penalties after the sides were deadlocked 0-0 at the end of normal time in Cairo, in the play-off for third at the tournament.

READ MORE: Red cards, VAR reviews, as the All Whites lose to Tunisia in penalty shootout >>>>

READ MORE: WATCH: Highlights from All Whites international against Tunisia in Egypt >>>>

The All Whites lost their semi-final 1-0 to Egypt.

“I think even from game one to game two. we took our learnings from Egypt and put in a performance where I think we’re on top for probably a good 70 minutes of that game (against Tunisia),” Barbarouses said.

The Wellington Phoenix forward, the most experienced in the New Zealand line-up with 56 caps, said he was encouraged by the young players coming through.

“I think you see tonight we’ve got a really exciting team and a team that can crack on and keep going like that for the next 10 years and build a generation of players that want to play that way,” he said.

Darren Bazeley … ‘ready now to take those next steps.’

Head coach Darren Bazeley said his team were disappointed with the result.

“We came out and we were very dominant. You know, we had great possession. We worked the ball into some really good areas and some of the things we’d worked on from the Egypt game around, trying to get in behind teams and trying to get more balls into dangerous areas.

“I thought we did that very well, created some good chances and, you know, we had the offside goal that was very close and obviously, we had a penalty and no one’s ever going to moan at people who miss a penalty.

“It’s part of the game and people stand up to take them, so that’s part of that.”

Bazeley compared the result with November’s draw against the Republic of Ireland, seen by many as a “really good result”.

“Well, we’ve again come away from home against a higher ranked team than Ireland and drawn again, if you take the penalties away,” he said, referring to Tunisia’s rating of 41st in the FIFA men’s world rankings.

“We’ve got a team in there now that are not happy with that, we’re not comfortable having just drawn with a Tunisia team, so they’re ready now to take those next steps.”

Bazeley said the experience of a penalty shootout would help the players involved.


Game played on Wednesday March 27, 2024

Play-off for third

New Zealand 0
Tunisia 0
*Tunisia won 4-2 on penalties

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