15 Jun 2010

All Whites all set for their first World Cup game

12:29 pm on 15 June 2010

The All Whites are about to play their first World Cup game - and captain Ryan Nelsen says he's confident they won't succumb to stage fright.

While none of the team has played at a World Cup tournament before, several were part of the New Zealand team that played against world champions Italy in the Confederations Cup in South Africa last year.

Nelsen says the experience of the pressure of other big matches will also stand them in good stead.

The team's first pool game, against Slovakia, kicks off at 11.30 on Tuesday night NZ time in Rustenberg, South Africa.

Despite New Zealand's world ranking of 78th, compared with Slovakia's 34th, coach Ricki Herbert says it's his side's best chance of a win in the tournament.

He says this side is much better prepared than the 1982 squad he was part of.

In their other two pool games, the All Whites play Italy on 21 June and Paraguay on 25 June.