New Zealand today named their strongest possible squad for their 2010 FIFA World Cup™ warm-up against Mexico in Los Angeles next month, with only two players missing from the team which clinched qualification last year.
Goalkeeper Mark Paston - one of New Zealand's heroes in the 1-0 two-leg qualification victory against Bahrain after saving a penalty - is still recovering from a fractured leg. Defender Ivan Vicelich is serving a one-match suspension and has been replaced by Tommy Smith of English club Brentford, while goalkeeper Glen Moss returns from suspension.
Attacking midfielder Craig Henderson, who recently signed for newly promoted Swedish premier league side Mjallby, has also been brought into the squad. Plymouth Argyle striker Rory Fallon - who scored the winning goal against Bahrain - has been included despite a dispute with the club over his availability for the friendly.
"We haven't played for nearly four months now and we could be a little rusty," New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert said. "Mexico won't do us any favours but that gets us back to the reality of what we're going to face in South Africa in June."
New Zealand squad
Goalkeepers: Glen Moss (Melbourne Victory/Aus), James Bannatyne (Team Wellington)
Defenders: Tony Lochhead (Wellington Phoenix), Ryan Nelsen (Blackburn Rovers/England), Andrew Boyens (New York Red Bulls/USA), Ben Sigmund (Wellington Phoenix), Tommy Smith (Brentford/England)
Midfielders: Andy Barron (Team Wellington), Leo Bertos (Wellington Phoenix), Tim Brown (Wellington Phoenix), Simon Elliott (San Jose Earthquakes/USA), Michael McGlinchey (Motherwell/Scotland), Craig Henderson (Mjällby AIF/Sweden)
Forwards: Shane Smeltz (Gold Coast United/Australia), Rory Fallon (Plymouth Argyle/England), Chris Killen (Middlesbrough/England), Chris Wood (West Bromwich Albion/England)