Goalkeepers: Stefan Marinovic, Glen Ross, Tamati Williams
Defenders: Sam Brotherton, Deklan Wynne, Themistoklis Tzimopoulos, Michael Boxall, Dane Ingham, Tom Doyle, Kip Colvey, Tommy Smith, Storm Roux, Andrew Durante
Midfielders: Bill Tuiloma, Michael McGlinchey, Ryan Thomas, Clayton Lewis
Forwards: Kosta Barbarouses, Chris Wood, Shane Smeltz, Marco Rojas, Monty Patterson, Alex Rufer
New Zealand will represent the OFC after winning the OFC Nations Cup. Although the OFC is considered one of the weakest confederations in the world, New Zealand have been a powerhouse in it. They have won the OFC Nations Cup four times and always finish in the top 3. This is with the exception of when they finished in the group stage in 1980. Manager Anthony Hudson is confident about the clubs chances, saying, “It is the best squad we have had since I have been here. The best thing about this squad is we have a good blend of experience and youth. There is energy, quality, and hunger in this squad so I’m very pleased.”
Player To Watch: Chris Wood
Obviously the player to look out for on this team without a doubt is Chris Wood, who will be the captain for New Zealand in the tournament. The 25-year-old forward has established himself in the Sky Bet Championship, scoring 27 goals with Leeds United last season. He nearly even carried the team to the Premier League, but they got knocked out in the promotion playoffs. He’s a great finisher and a prolific goalscorer who will guarantee you goals. If New Zealand want to go to the knockout stages, Wood needs to have very big performances as New Zealand are heavy underdogs in the tournament.
I predict that New Zealand will finish in 3rd place ahead of Russia thanks to goal difference. Like Russia, I just don’t see them competing with Portugal and Mexico for a top 2 spot in Group A. Sure, they have good players but it won’t be enough because of the huge challenge they face within their group. They’ll draw against Russia and lose against Portugal and Mexico.