Herbert proud of New Zealand

25 June 2010 10:40

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert believes a bright future lies ahead for the country after their fairytale World Cup ended in disappointment.

Despite not losing a match - Thursday's goalless scoreline against Paraguay at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane followed draws against Slovakia and Italy - the All Whites missed out on qualification from Group F by a point.

"I think when you look at the team, 85% of it can go on to the 2014 programme and there are not a lot of sides that are in that position," said Herbert. "The future looks extremely bright for this team."

He added: "I think right across the board players have grown in stature. Everyone has played well and I can't find anyone who has not contributed at the highest level.

"There has been some great players in the team, the two real stand-outs have been Winston Reid and Tommy Smith.

"Can you get any closer [to qualifying]? A lot of people thought we shouldn't have been here, that we had amateurs in the team that weren't good enough but I think that is dead and buried now."

Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz believes despite their struggles in breaking down New Zealand they have the quality to progress even further in the tournament.

"We're very happy to have qualified but it was a very difficult game," he said.

"The game got boring because they were so defensive. In a game like this you expect to win but the important thing is we qualified. There is always room for improvement but I think the whole team has worked very well so far.

"We are now at an historic point in time. I believe it is now up to us to know where we want to get to because we have the potential. The quarter-finals would be a dream but we are capable of getting further."

Source: PA