14 Feb 2017

All Whites to play in NI

7:25 am on 14 February 2017

The All Whites will play Northern Ireland in an international football friendly in Belfast on June 2.

Winston Reid in action for the All Whites.

Winston Reid in action for the All Whites. Photo: Photosport

New Zealand will use the game as a warm-up as they prepare for the Confederations Cup in Russia, where they will face the hosts, Portugal and Mexico in the group stage.

The All Whites have also confirmed a game against Belarus before the Confederations Cup.

After the match against Northern Ireland New Zealand will then play a club side in Dublin in a closed game on June 7 before they travel to St Petersburg for the Confederations Cup.

Hudson said the World No 35 Northern Ireland, who qualified for the final 16 of the European Championship last year, would present a great challenge as they get ready for the 'Tournament of Champions'.

"We're really pleased with our fixtures leading into the FIFA Confederations Cup," said Hudson.

"It was great to announce Belarus during the week and we are pleased to have confirmed a game against a top team like Northern Ireland who were very impressive during the Euros last year. We know it will be a really good test in front of their home fans, we are looking forward to it."

Englisman Hudson, is looking forward to returning to the United Kingdom with his team.

"This gives us the chance to play top quality opposition and logistically it suits us as we get the games we need and don't waste any time with extra travel," he said.

"Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are great places to tour and this camp will give us great preparation for Russia. The key for us is now we have a good amount of time together to help us prepare for the tournament. We are really looking forward to these fixtures."

In 2016, the OFC Nations Cup Champions lost 2-1 to World No 17 Mexico in Nashville and then drew 1-1 with the World No 29 USA in Washington before returning home to claim four points against New Caledonia in Stage Three of the OFC Qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

They travel to Russia with high hopes.

"We are not going to the Confederations Cup just to take part, we are going there to upset teams," said Hudson.

The All Whites will play hosts Russia in the opening game of the tournament on 17 June before facing Mexico on 21 June and then Portugal on 24 June.

New Zealand captain Winston Reid, who plays at centre-back for Premier League side West Ham, is one of the All Whites best known players along with Chris Wood, the striker currently topping the scoring charts for Leeds United.

Also in the All Whites' ranks are Marseille defender Bill Tuiloma and Michael Boxall, who plays at the back for SuperSport United in South Africa's Premier League.

A handful of the All Whites players star for Wellington Phoenix, who are based in New Zealand but compete in Australia's A-League.

Defender Sam Brotherton, who was a member of the New Zealand squad for the U20 World Cup in 2015 and has seven senior caps, has just put pen to paper on a professional deal with Sunderland.