8 Jun 2015

New Zealand under 20's to play Portugal

5:55 am on 8 June 2015

The New Zealand under-20 football coach Darren Bazeley admits they have a massive challenge ahead of them in the next phase of the Fifa World Cup.

New Zealand under 20 football team celebrate goal 2015.

New Zealand under 20 football team celebrate goal 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

New Zealand will play their first ever knockout game at this level after qualifying as one of the best third placed teams.

Following the completition of pool play it has been confirmed that New Zealand will play Portugal in the round of 16.

Portugal won all three of their pool matches, scoring 10 goals and conceding just 1.

The two sides will meet in Hamilton on Thursday night.

Bazeley says Portugal is a very strong team, they qualified for the tournament out of a strong competition in Europe and so far look like one of the best teams in the competition.

He says it's going to be a massive challenge for them and it's one they're excited to prepare for against some of the best players in the world.

Bazeley called on football fans around the country to continue their tremendous support of his side after big turnouts in the first three games in Auckland and Wellington.

He says his boys have had great support in each game and they'll need that 12th player in white again on Thursday as they forward to the opportunity to make the country proud in front of another big crowd in Hamilton.

In the other games in the round of 16 Ghana play Mali, Serbia play Hungary, the USA play Colombia, Ukraine play Senegal, Austria play Uzbekistan, Germany play Nigeria and Brazil play Uruguay.

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