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Oct 29, 2009

New Zealand at full strength for Bahrain qualifier

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert named a full-strength squad on Thursday for the second leg of their Asia/Oceania World Cup qualifying match against Bahrain on Nov. 14.

The winner of the match will qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. The squad named on Thursday also formed the matchday squad for the first leg in Manama on Oct. 10, which ended in a 0-0 draw.

Captain Ryan Nelsen was selected after it was confirmed he had not been affected by the H1N1 flu that quarantined three of his Blackburn Rovers club mates in England.

Plymouth Argyle striker Rory Fallon has also been named in the hope he will recover in time from a calf strain he sustained against Ipswich Town last week. "Rory is making very good progress and I spoke to Ryan last night and he's in good health so as we stand we've got no injury concerns or medical problems," Herbert said in a statement.

"It's never easy to go with final squad for the most important game but I think there has been consistency with this group of players that has gone through Jordan and Bahrain and we just feel it's important to keep that intact," Herbert said.

The majority of the squad have again been drawn from the domestic league and Australian A-League, with the six Wellington Phoenix players appearing on their home ground at Westpac Stadium.

The game has been sold out, with capacity increased to 35,000 with the addition of 500 temporary seats approved by world governing body FIFA. Local media reported the additional 500 tickets sold out in four minutes.

More than 17,000 tickets were sold in less than a week after the first leg in Manama.

It will be the largest crowd to watch a soccer match in New Zealand, surpassing the 31,853 David Beckham's LA Galaxy side drew for a friendly against the Phoenix in Dec. 2007.

The New Zealand squad assembles in Wellington on Nov. 10.

Squad:

Goalkeepers - James Bannatyne (Team Wellington), Mark Paston (Wellington Phoenix)

Defenders - Andrew Boyens (New York Red Bulls), Tony Lochhead, David Mulligan (both Wellington Phoenix), Ryan Nelsen (Blackburn Rovers), Aaron Scott (Waitakere United), Ben Sigmund (Wellington Phoenix), Ivan Vicelich (Auckland City)

Midfielders - Andy Barron (Team Wellington), Leo Bertos, Tim Brown (both Wellington Phoenix), Simon Elliott (San Jose Earthquakes), Michael McGlinchey (Central Coast Mariners)

Forwards - Rory Fallon (Plymouth Argyle), Chris Killen (Celtic), Shane Smeltz (Gold Coast United), Chris Wood (West Bromwich Albion).

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