New Zealand have lost captain Winston Reid to an ankle injury on the eve of their two-legged World Cup playoff against Mexico.
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The Premier League defender suffered the injury while training with his West Ham team-mates, with scans ruling him out of both games for the All Whites.
New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert said the loss of Reid was ‘difficult’ but believed it offered an opportunity for one of his other defenders to show their class.
"Losing your captain a week before a match of this magnitude is difficult but this is the nature of football," Herbert said.
"With Winston now sidelined, it presents an opportunity for other players to grasp and we will now move forward with the same levels of determination and commitment our group prides itself on."
New Zealand travel to the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City next Thursday before returning to Wellington for the second leg a week later.