Coach: Confed Cup will stand NZ in good stead

PRETORIA - New Zealand's focus will turn to World Cup qualification once they have played their final Confederations Cup match on Saturday, with their coach adamant that two defeats will have helped their cause.

Rikki Herbert said his team had got a lot out of the tournament despite a 5-0 defeat to Spain and a one-sided encounter with hosts South Africa.

In the process, the Kiwis have failed to score while conceding seven and cannot qualify even with a match against Iraq in Johannesburg remaining.

"This has been a rare opportunity for us to have the side together and to play against teams at a higher level," said Herbert, part of New Zealand's side at their only World Cup appearance in Spain in 1982.

"We are still chasing that elusive point," Herbert said in reference to New Zealand's lack of success in two previous Confederations Cup appearances.

"We'll be going into the match with the intention of getting a result," he told reporters.

But, just as important for New Zealand, Saturday's game serves as practice ahead of their World Cup play-off qualifier in October and November.

New Zealand, as winners of the Oceania group, await the winner of upcoming Asian zone playoff between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

"The Confederations Cup build-up and games will have helped greatly to improve our chances of qualifying for the World Cup," Herbert added.