- Winston Reid captained New Zealand to fine 1-1 draw with United States in Washington DC
- West Ham United defender returned to international duty after a 13-month absence
- Defender is targeting a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia
Winston Reid believes New Zealand can qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals after producing two fine performances on their US Tour.
The All Whites pushed Mexico all the way before falling to a narrow 2-1 defeat in Nashville, before holding the United States to a hard-fought 1-1 draw in Washington DC.
Captain Reid, who was appearing for New Zealand for the first time in 13 months, was impressed by Anthony Hudson’s squad and believes his national team can replicate their achievement from 2010, when the West Ham United star scored and helped his country to three group-stage draws in South Africa.
“First and foremost it has been nice seeing everyone again,” said Reid, who has 20 caps. “The team has been doing well. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here.
“In the short space of time that we have had in the past week or so together the team has come together from all four corners of the world and the main thing is we went out there, we had a game plan and we stuck to it.
“At the end of the day the most important thing is to see we are improving as a group.”
“If we continue down these lines it will be very good,” he said. “We need to learn from the mistakes we make and continue on doing well. Rome wasn’t built in one day so we need to take it one step at a time, keep humble and work hard.
“We have learnt from day one when Anthony first took over the group that we need belief in not only ourselves but also our peers and work hard. That is the core ethic of this group, be humble and don’t take anything for granted.”
Next up for New Zealand, who won the regional OFC Nations Cup in June, is an Oceania World Cup qualifying double-header with New Caledonia next month.
The All Whites host the first meeting at North Harbour Stadium on 12 November, just a few miles from his birthplace in the Auckland suburb of North Shore, before travelling to Kone for the return tie three days later.
New Zealand’s Round 3 Group A also consists of Fiji, who they will take on home and away in 2017, with the winner going through to a two-legged play-off with Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands or Tahiti. Win that, and the All Whites will face the fifth-placed South American nation home and away for a place in Russia.
“It’s going to be good,” said Reid, whose last game on home soil was actually for West Ham on their 2014 pre-season tour. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been back home so it’s something I’ll look forward to.
“We all want to come back and play on home soil. It’s not often we get to do that, so it’s definitely something that I’m personally relishing.
“It’s a big moment for us. I think the way forward is for us to get a big crowd and hopefully they’ll be there to cheer us on and give us the support we need.”