Chile to face New Zealand in final warm-up

AUCKLAND - Chile and New Zealand will complete their World Cup preparations with a friendly behind closed doors in South Africa two days before the finals start, New Zealand Football (NZF) said on Tuesday.

The teams will meet in a match played in three 30-minute periods on June 9 at Nelspruit, NZF said.

Chile will be based in Nelspruit throughout the June 11-July 11 finals, while New Zealand play their second Group F game against holders Italy there on June 20.

New Zealand also play Paraguay and Slovakia in Group F.

"I think we've got some really good fixtures lined up leading into our arrival in South Africa so something a bit more informal will be an ideal opportunity to finalise our build-up," All Whites coach Ricki Herbert said in a statement.

New Zealand, who have already played Mexico in Los Angeles as they prepare for their first finals since 1982, will also hold a two-week training camp in Auckland before they meet Australia in Melbourne on May 24.

They then travel to Europe to hold a final camp in Austria, where they also meet Serbia on May 29 in Klagenfurt and Slovenia in Maribor on June 4 before travelling to South Africa.

Chile, meanwhile, had a double bill against North Korea and Costa Rica on March 3 cancelled after the massive earthquake that devastated parts of Chile in late February.

This double bill has been replaced by two friendlies against Venezuela on March 31, one open to the public in Temuco and another behind closed doors.

Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa, criticised in his home country for arranging too few warm-ups ahead of the 2002 finals when his Argentina team flopped, has also scheduled friendlies away to Mexico on May 16 and at home to Israel in late May.

One more is in the pipeline for June 4.

Chile, who plan to arrive in South Africa on June 7, meet Honduras on June 16 in their opening Group H match. They also face favourites Spain and Switzerland.

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