The All Whites coach Ricki Herbert is finding plenty of positives from their 2-nil defeat by Mexico in their football friendly in front of 90 thousand fans at the Pasadena Rosebowl in Los Angeles last night.
A week after a locally-sourced Mexican team dismantled Bolivia 5-nil in San Francisco, a full strength side welcoming its stars back from top European leagues had trouble breaking down an under-strength All Whites eleven.
Without skipper Ryan Nelsen, coach Herbert was more than happy with the way his defence, including debutants Tommy Smith in central defence and Chad Coombes in the unaccustomed role of wingback, equipped themselves.
He says it was always going to be a very big challenge for them, missing a few players and not having played together for 5 months.
Herbert says it was all about trialling players and the match gave them what they needed with plenty of ideas moving forward.
Herbert was happy with a new-look back five.
Next up for New Zealand in their confirmed World Cup build up is a trans-Tasman blockbuster against Australia on May 24th at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where another huge crowd is expected.