Mexico, New Zealand to play WC warm-up in U.S.

BY foxsports • December 22, 2009

New Zealand will play Mexico at Pasadena, California on March 3 in its first warmup match ahead of next year's World Cup.

Mexico will play hosts South Africa in the first match of the World Cup on June. 11. Their group also includes former World Cup winners Uruguay and France. New Zealand will play in Group F with Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia.

The warmup match will be played at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

"I think with Paraguay in the group, a game against Mexico is ideal for us," New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert said. "A big name, a very strong team, but a good opportunity to get our team back together in the only window leading up to the World Cup.

"It's important to stretch ourselves leading into the World Cup but those elements: quality opposition, big crowds, playing away from home are all things we need to consider."

New Zealand beat Mexico 4-0 in their only previous meeting in 1980. New Zealand qualified for the World Cup by winning the Oceania qualifying tournament and then beating Bahrain, the fifth-place Asian team, in an intercontinental playoff.


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