Westlake Boys through to last 16 at secondary schools’ world cup tournament

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New Zealand’s Westlake Boys High School face a talented German side in the play-off stages of a secondary schools world cup tournament in China, after clinching second place in their group.

The Aucklanders beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in their final group match, ensuring they go into the play-offs against the eight other teams that finished runners-up in pools at the 36-team tournament.

Their reward is a match against Germany, a side drawn largely from players with Werder Bremen’s academy.

The tournament includes many teams with players from professional academies and national age group squads.

Westlake, representing New Zealand at the International School Sport Federation (ISF) Football World Cup in Dalian, China, entered their final pool game against Saudia Arabia knowing a victory would secure them a place in the last 16.

The team started the game on the front foot against a technically sharp Saudi Arabian team.

Westlake players check out the pitch at the tournament venue.

The Kiwis were consistently getting in behind the Saudi Arabia backline and causing them problems through some quality combination play.

Despite creating several chances, the Saudis put their bodies on the line, denying the Kiwis a lead.

The half-time message was clear — remain calm, keep attacking with patience and defend compactly.

Early in the second half, Damion Kim delivered a superb free kick to the back post, with Hamish Strong forcing the ‘keeper into making an outstanding save to keep the scoreline at 0-0.

As the game continued into the last 30 minutes, the Saudi Arabian team continued to slow the game with multiple injury breaks, gamesmanship and were clear in their intention to play for the draw.

Despite the cynicism, the Westlake players continued to be positive and push for the win.

They were rewarded with 13 minutes remaining when Levi Hill collected the ball inside his own half and slid a beautifully weighted pass down the left sideline to Troy Putt, who dribbled 20 metres and past the Saudi Arabian centre-back.

He then calmly chipped the keeper with the outside of his right foot.

The New Zealand team managed the game cleverly in the last 10 minutes, but it did require a super-human goal-line clearance from captain Jack Young to maintain the lead and ensure victory.

READ MORE: Westlake Boys riding high in group games at schools’ world cup in China >>>>


Game played on Thursday May 23, 2024

New Zealand 1 (Troy Putt 77′)
Saudi Arabia 0

Final group standings

New Zealand squad

Kai Barrett
Finn Carpenter
Bill Cui (GK)
Cam Deamer
Mikey Gambitsis
Levi Hill
Ray Ishihara
Damion Kim
Jayden Kim
James Lee (GK)
Conall Mclean
Karter Mackenzie
Troy Putt (vice captain)
Matthew Rodrigues
Nikola Stoychev
Hamish Strong
Carlos Takayama
Charlie Taylor
Jack Young (captain)

Head coach: Dave Wright
Assistant coach: Nick Dale
Assistant coach: Simon Tyndel
Manager: Logan Douglas

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