New Zealand get their excuses in early

The New Zealand national side have just arrived in Mexico ahead of the first leg of their World Cup play-off, and the press back home have accused their hosts of waging “psychological warfare” on the Kiwis..

The New Zealand Herald noted that the “crafty” Mexican Football Federation  published details of the All Whites’ arrival times and accommodation details so, despite wanting to keep their entrance as low-key as possible, the team were overwhelmed by fans and press as soon as they arrived in Mexico City.

The Herald  stated: “The Mexican Federation contacted every media organisation in the country yesterday, as well as fan websites, forums and supporter networks, informing them of the All Whites exact time of arrival and airline.”

And that’s not all.

Several New Zealand newspapers are complaining that Mexico have undermined the underdogs’ morale by refusing to let them wear their all-white home kit for the game on Thursday evening.

Mexico play in white shorts and white socks meaning that, by FIFA’s decree, New Zealand are going to have to wear their change strip.

The problem with the away kit is that it is all black, which the press fear will make their players overheat in the stifling atmosphere inside the Estadio Azteca.

There’s a good background piece to Mexico’s current predicament in today’s Guardian. It explains why the Central American outfit have gone through four coaches in their last five matches and how for a nation that has qualified for every World Cup since 1982*, failure to do so this time around is unthinkable.

*Mexico did not participate in the 1990 World Cup as they were thrown out of the competition for fielding overage players in a youth tournament.