06.06.2022 07:36 h

New Zealand upbeat despite defeat in World Cup playoff warm-up

Coach Danny Hay said that "we learned a hell of a lot" after his New Zealand team lost 1-0 to Peru in a warm-up match for their World Cup playoff.

New Zealand face Costa Rica on June 14 in Doha with a spot at November-December's Qatar World Cup at stake and Hay said that facing Peru had been ideal preparation despite the defeat.

Gianluca Lapadula scored the winner in the 69th minute at RCDE Stadium in Barcelona on Sunday when New Zealand goalkeeper Oli Sail miscontrolled a backpass.

"I learnt a huge amount," Hay told reporters after the friendly loss in front of a boisterous pro-Peru crowd.

"That's the first time since November 2019 that we've actually played in front of a crowd (because of Covid), believe it or not.

"So the opportunity to play in a stadium like this with such a vocal, loud crowd, where we couldn't communicate clearly with each other, I think we learned a hell of a lot."

New Zealand, who are 101st in the FIFA rankings and have reached the World Cup only twice before, next face Oman on Thursday in Qatar in another friendly.

Hay said that his side, who had Newcastle's Chris Wood up front, improved as the game went on.

"I think as the game progressed and we got over that little bit of that fear factor... I think we really started to come to life in the second half and there was some good football in the second half," he said.