Vicelich could fill midfield role

14 June 2010 08:38

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert could turn to the experience of defender Ivan Vicelich to fill a midfield hole in their World Cup opener against Slovakia.

A shoulder injury to Tim Brown - whose participation in the whole tournament could be in doubt - has created a problem for Herbert for Tuesday's Group F clash in Rustenburg.

Martin Skrtel is expected to feature for the Slovakians after shaking off an ankle injury he picked up in last week's friendly against Costa Rica.

Herbert told the New Zealand Herald: "You are not going to lack experience (with Ivan) and that might be what we need in this game - someone who is calm and patient on the ball. He is a strong influence in the team, along with Ryan (Nelsen) at the back."

Brown's injury means a chance for Auckland City veteran Vicelich, who started his career in central midfield but has lost his starting place in defence to Ipswich's Tommy Smith.

Herbert added: "We have experience through the middle of the park and around those players there's a lot of energy."

Meanwhile, Manchester City youngster Vladimir Weiss, son of coach Vladimir sr, said: "We have seen the New Zealanders play against Serbia, we know what we can expect from them.

"We will obviously try to get all three points. When we play we will build on the work against Costa Rica.

"I believe that the New Zealand match will turn out as we all want."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:44