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Asian warm-ups for NZ Olympic football teams

Published: May 8, 2012 | 8:41 am
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Preparations for New Zealand’s two Olympic football teams are taking shape with confirmation of challenging Asian warm-ups for the Oly Whites and Football Ferns on the Road to London.

The Football Ferns will play two matches against Australia on June 24 and 27 at a yet to be determined venue across the Tasman while the Oly Whites will face fellow Olympic qualifiers Japan in Tokyo on July 11 en route to London.

The confirmation of matches was welcomed by both coaches as an important component of their build-up.

Football Ferns coach Tony Readings sees the matches against their fiercest rivals as a great opportunity to put their Olympic plan under the microscope.

“We’ve got a plan for how we need to play at the Olympics,” said Football Ferns coach Tony Readings, “and we need to test how well we can implement these elements under pressure.”

“Playing a top 10 team on their home soil will be a great acid test for us in the final leg of our build up.”

For Oly Whites coach Neil Emblen, the Japan match will mark a new chapter in his side’s preparations – one hopefully involving the full complement of national team players and overseas profeAsian warm-ups for NZ Olympic football teamsssionals at his disposal.

“We qualified for London largely using our domestic based players,” said Emblen, “so this match will be the first time we will have the bulk, if not all, of the final squad together. It’s a very important benchmark for us.”

“Japan is an excellent side and I’m sure their fans will be looking to give them a rousing send-off.”

Other fixtures are still being negotiated for both teams and further games will be announced as they are confirmed.

The Football Ferns will open the Olympic Games against Great Britain in Cardiff on July 25 – two days before the opening ceremony – before meeting Brazil on July 28 and Cameroon in Coventry on July 31.

The Oly Whites begin their Olympic campaign against Belarus on July 26, meet Egypt at Old Trafford on July 29 and square off against the might of Brazil on August 1 at Newcastle’s St James’ Park.

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