31 May 2012

Sport: All Whites expect tough challenge from Pacific countries

10:52 am on 31 May 2012

New Zealand football coach Ricki Herbert insists his team won't be taking their Pacific Island opponents lightly at the Oceania Nations Cup tournament, which kicks off on Friday.

The defending champions touched down in Solomon Islands on Wednesday, fresh from a 2-2 draw with El Salvador and 1-0 win over Honduras in the United States.

Their first match is against Fiji on Saturday - a side who beat them 2-0 when they last played four years ago.

All Whites coach Herbert says, while he expects his players to perform, he's not taking any wins for granted.

"It's always unpredictable the island countries and they've produced some very very good sides over the years but we've got a tough group: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon's - local team. There's probably 25 thousand there at the stadium, which will be good for us too. It's always hard to predict I think we've got a lot of homework to do to make sure we're doing things well ourselves."