Foster not worried by France

AFC Cup 2019: Hà Nội FC 3-2 Altyn Asyr FK (Nguyễn Văn Quyết Penalty 87′)

New Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster said the All Blacks had absolutely no qualms about playing against France at the Millennium Stadium.

France produced what was then the upset of the tournament when they beat the All Blacks 20-18 at the same venue during the 2007 World Cup, at this stage of the tournament too. However, as far as Foster and the New Zealand management team are concerned, that is all in the past now, adding that their World Cup campaign was about the here and the now.

"I have been kind of waiting for that question," Foster told journalists this week.

"For us it is about the here and the now and like I said, we have been planning to be at the Millennium Stadium for the last six months. And we will be there at the weekend," added Foster.

During the pool phase of the current World Cup, New Zealand have not produced too many emphatic performances, especially against the lower ranked teams. Naturally some doubts have emerged about their readiness to compete in this weekend's knockout phase, against teams that have had to work a little harder to qualify.

Foster is not at all concerned about that either.

"Some players watched it and some didn't," Foster said of the final Pool D fixture between Ireland and France.  

"From our side of the coin, it was a great game, a very intense game. We are just excited that we know what the future is. We have been waiting a long time for this moment and quite frankly, we can't wait."

What was apparent during that fixture was that France have become a physical team and possibly not as dynamic as they could or have been in the past.

"They are very physical and they defended very strongly," said Foster.

"They made a good Ireland team work very hard to break them down and they certainly deserve to be there too. We expect them to be as hungry and ready as we are. That's what we are excited about."