Phoenix dominate All Whites squad


New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert has named a host of A-League players in his 18-man squad for the 2013 OSN Cup in Saudi Arabia.

The squad will feature five Wellington Phoenix players in Glen Moss, Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante, Leo Bertos and Jeremy Brockie, along with Melbourne Victory-s Kosta Barbarouses.

Fellow A-League player Shane Smeltz (Perth Glory) was not available due to injury while Michael McGlinchey (Central Coast Mariners) will not travel due to the impending birth of his first child.

The tournament is aiming to prepare the All Whites for their upcoming intercontinental playoff that will decide New Zealand-s World Cup fate.

As will the rest of the All Whites side, Andrew Durante will be looking to build momentum into two of the nation-s biggest ever matches.

“It is very exciting as we head towards the crucial games in November,” said Durante.

“It will be a good opportunity for Ricki to try out different players and formations and allow us to work on our combinations.”

Hosted by Saudi Arabia, the All Whites will make the trip to the Middle Eastern nation along with Trinidad & Tobago and the UAE.

“You always want to win but these games are about making sure we are coming together as a team.

“I have read that we are the highest ranked nation in the tournament so it would be good to go there and win both our matches.”

The New Zealanders will take on Saudi Arabia in the semi-final on September 5 before taking on the winner of the Trinidad & Tobago and UAE match in the final on September 9.

All focus will then towards the two clashes with the fourth placed team from the CONCACAF region.

“It is looking like it could be either Panama or Honduras so it is no doubt going to be a tough game either way.

“We play the first leg there so hopefully we can pinch a result and then come home to play at Wellington in front of a packed house.

“Hopefully we can go out there and repeat what the boys did four years ago and book our tickets to the World Cup.”

The second leg of the tie will be played in Wellington on November 20.