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New Zealand name unchanged side for Paraguay clash as they chase incredible win

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chris_killen.jpgNew Zealand have promised to throw everything they have into their clash against Paraguay in Polokwane on Thursday with a place in the second round of the FIFA World Cup on offer. New Zealand's first two pool matches, against Slovakia and Italy have yielded two historic 1-1 results, and a third draw may see them through - providing Italy and Slovakia play out a lower scoring draw in Johannesburg.

(Click here for the Match Report)

A maiden World Cup victory would guarantee the All Whites, who will wear their black strip for the group decider, a place in the last 16 and midfielder Ivan Vicelich says the team has a firm but quiet belief in their ability to spring another surprise.

"It's been a great experience for the whole team," said Vicelich. "We've grown a lot over the last four years. We have a quiet confidence about ourselves where we know against quality opposition we can perform well. We've shown that in our last two matches, and we hope to do the same in the next one."

New Zealand garnered the tag of the tournament's surprise package when earning their first ever World Cup point against Slovakia and then outdoing that effort with a draw against reigning World Champions Italy.

Coach Ricki Herbert praised his squad's spirit and belief in each other after each result and promised another honest effort against the group leaders. "The heart will be on the sleeve and the performance will be as much as we can give. If it's good enough to take us further, fantastic. If it's not then we're proud of the position we've put football back into."

"We're really ambitious, the players are very relaxed but confident that they can go out and do something."

Herbert has named the same line-up for the third straight match but had given that group two full days off training with the space between games shorter this time around.

"It was tough game, obviously, against the world champions," said Vicelich, who will again partner Simon Elliott in the centre of midfield, said the game against the World Champions had taken a lot out of the All Whites. "It was good to celebrate a little bit, I mean for football in New Zealand it's a massive result but in the back of our minds we knew we had another game in three days and we weren't going to go overboard. The guys have turned around and had a couple of good days. We've kept things ticking over with the official session and we're fighting fit for tomorrow.

The team finished preparations with an official training at Peter Mokaba Stadium. New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen was given the night off with a minor stomach complaint, but is expected to be fully fit to lead the team.

The Teams:

New Zealand: 1-Mark PASTON (GK), 3-Tony LOCHHEAD, 4-Winston REID, 5-Ivan VICELEICH, 6-Ryan NELSEN (captain), 7 Simon ELLIOTT, 9-Shane SMELTZ, 10-Chris KILLEN, 11-Leo BERTOS, 14-Rory FALLON, 19-Tommy SMITH.
Substitutes: 2-Ben SIGMUND, 8-Tim BROWN, 12-Glen MOSS (RGK), 13-Andy BARRON, 15-Michael MCGLINCHEY, 16-Aaron CLAPHAM, 17-David MULLIGAN, 18-Andrew BOYENS, 20-Chris WOOD, 21-Jeremy CHRISTIE, 22-Jeremy BROCKIE, 23-James BANNATYNE (RGK).
Coach: Ricki HERBERT

Paraguay (from): 1-Justo VILLAR (GK), 2-Dario VERON, 3-Claudio MOREL, 4-Denis CANIZA, 5-Julio Cesar CACERES, 6-Carlos BONET, 7-Oscar CARDOZO, 8-Edgar BARRETO, 9-Roque SANTA CRUZ, 10-Edgar BENITEZ, 11-Jonathan SANTANA, 12-Diego BARRETO (GK), 13-Enrique VERA, 14-Paulo DA SILVA, 15-Victor CACERES, 16-Cristian RIVEROS, 17-Aureliano TORRES, 18-Nelson VALDEZ, 19-Lucas BARRIOS, 20-Nestor ORTIGOZA, 21-Antolin ALCARAZ, 22-Aldo BOBADILLA (GK), 23-Rodolfo GAMARRA.
Coach: Gerardo MARTINO

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Photograph Copyright: STF Photo Agency