The New Zealand U-20 side suffered a disappointing defeat against the Guatemala U-20 side in an invitational tournament in Jakarta, Indonesia. The match was an important preparation for the U-20 World Cup, which is also being held in Indonesia later this year. The loss against Guatemala followed a defeat suffered by another Oceania Football Confederation member, Fiji, who lost to the host team.
New Zealand started the match on a positive note, with Melville United’s Olliver Colloty scoring an early goal. However, the team’s fortunes took a turn for the worse in the second half, as they conceded three goals to Guatemala. The Guatemalan goals were scored by Daniel Cardoza, Jefrey Bantes, and Luca Avendendo at the 54th, 60th, and 81st minutes, respectively. You can watch the highlights by clicking here.
The defeat was a tough blow for New Zealand, as they had hoped to start the tournament on a winning note. However, they still have two more games to play in Jakarta, against Indonesia and Fiji. It is hoped that the team will be able to bounce back and put up a better performance in their upcoming matches.
One factor that may have contributed to New Zealand’s defeat was the fact that nine players were still to join the squad and had not yet arrived in Jakarta due to travel delays. This meant that the team only had three substitutes on the match. However, despite this setback, the team coach, Darren Bazeley, remained optimistic and praised the players for their effort.
The defeat against Guatemala highlights the challenges faced by the New Zealand U-20 side as they prepare for the upcoming U-20 World Cup. It is clear that the team will need to work hard and iron out any weaknesses if they hope to compete against the best teams in the world. Nonetheless, with the talent and dedication of the players, there is still hope that New Zealand will be able to put up a strong performance in the tournament.