In naming his first squad as head coach, Readings has sprung few surprises for the February 11 game at the FC Dallas Stadium in Texas, with all players drawn from last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup squad, including 15 players now playing for clubs outside New Zealand.
With a total of 750 caps, it is the most experienced Football Ferns’ squad named.
Only midfielder Katie Bowen, recently back in training after a knee injury, was not considered for selection.
New Zealand is chasing the 12th and final berth for London – the final stage of Oceania qualifying is a home and away playoff against a yet to be determined nation in March and April – and Readings said there is no better team to play than the reigning Olympic champions to see what needs to be done between now and August.
“On any given day they are the benchmark for women’s football,” said Readings. “They will give us a clear idea of the areas we need to work on before the Olympics but also on ways in which we can hurt top quality teams.”
“They have won the Olympic gold medal three times and missed out on a third World Cup title last year in a penalty shootout. They’ve just come through Olympic qualifying without conceding a goal and capped it off with a 4-0 win over Canada in the final.
The Football Ferns are also scheduled to play Northern Ireland, South Africa and South Korea at next month’s Cyprus Cup.
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