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All Whites finish 4th in FIFA Series

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The All Whites have secured the fourth place in the FIFA series tournament in Egypt after a penalty shootout defeat against Tunisia.

In a hard-fought match held in Cairo, the teams ended regulation time with a 0-0 draw, leading to a decisive penalty shootout where Tunisia emerged victorious with a 4-2 score.

Despite a strong start and dominating both possession and goal-scoring opportunities, the All Whites were unable to convert their chances into goals. The match was intense and saw New Zealand’s captain, Liberato Cacace, receive a red card at the final whistle due to an altercation with a Tunisian player, who was also sent off.

New Zealand had several significant opportunities to score during the match. An early goal by Kosta Barbarouses was disallowed for offside, and a penalty awarded to New Zealand after a VAR review was saved by Tunisia’s goalkeeper, Bechir Ben Said, who put on a remarkable performance.

The match marked the first-ever international encounter between New Zealand and Tunisia, with Tunisia ranked 41st globally, significantly higher than New Zealand. Despite the outcome, the All Whites demonstrated resilience and competitive spirit throughout the tournament.

The team’s last victory was against China in March 2023, and in their last 14 games, they have managed to score only six goals. Coach Darren Bazeley’s lineup changes, including starting positions for Wellington Phoenix teammates Kosta Barbarouses and captain Alex Rufer, aimed to enhance the team’s performance and address these challenges.

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