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Brockie awaits dream date with destiny

17 October 2013-SBS: Philip Micallef

jeremy brockie new zealand

Dream date ... Wellington and New Zealand striker Jeremy Brockie (Getty)

Wellington Phoenix striker Jeremy Brockie is rubbing his hands in expectation of performing at one of the game's most famous stadiums in his quest to play in a second World Cup.

The New Zealand international is expected to be in the team to face Mexico in next month's home-and-away playoff for a spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The first leg will take place at the fabled Aztec Stadium in Mexico City on 15 November with the return at Westpac Stadum in Wellington five days later.

The prospect of playing at a massive venue that has hosted two World Cup finals has Brockie and his teammates buzzing.

”I can't wait for the two big games against Mexico,” he said from Los Angeles International Airport while the New Zealand team waited for a connecting flight to Sydney.

”Never did I imagine that I could be playing at a stadium with so much history and had the likes of Pele [1970] and Diego Maradona [1986] grace the field, no way.

”It is very exciting. To play in front of 105,000 screaming Mexican fans will be a great experience.

”The boys will be buzzing at such an awesome atmosphere.

”It's a dream come true and an experience that I should never forget, pending making the final squad, of course.”

Mexico survived a dramatic final day of qualifying in CONCACAF to earn the right to play New Zealand.

The Mexicans were on the way out of the World Cup after losing 2-1 to Costa Rica but were saved by a last-gasp United States 3-2 victory over Panama.

New Zealand had earlier played Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly match and the players watched the drama unfold at their hotel in Port-of-Spain.

Brockie said he and his teammates were under no illusions that the tie with the Mexicans will be anything but very tough.

”Mexico will be tough because they have some very good players but they have finished fourth for a reason so we fancy our chances,” Brockie said.

”If we come away from Mexico with some kind of result and a goal and take them back to a windy and rainy Westpac that would be ideal.”

New Zealand's players are accustomed to travelling long distances, particularly those who play for Phoenix and usually make trans-Tasman trips every other week.

For this reason Brockie feels the team will not be physically disadvantaged by the time the return leg takes place in Wellington.

”I think NZ Football are doing all they can to make sure all flights to and from Mexico will be as smooth as possible,” he said.

”The games are only five days apart so it's a quick turnaround but all the boys know what's on the line and it will be the same for both teams.

”But I guess when you cross the white line all that stuff has to be put at the back of your mind and we will concentrate on trying to get the All Whites to back-to-back World Cups.”

The A-League will occupy Brockie's mind in the next three weeks as Phoenix tries to bounce back from an unlucky 2-1 defeat to Brisbane Roar in Sunday's opening match when it faces Western Sudney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium, which is the new name for Parramatta Stadium.

”I'm very excited about Sunday,” he said.

”I was absolutely gutted to miss the first round last week but we'll turn it around.

”Ernie Merrick is a brilliant coach. He has worked very hard with the boys in the off season and anyone who watched us last week probably noticed a change compared to last season.

”He has great experience in the A-League and he is signing some very good young Kiwi boys, too.”

Phoenix will need Brockie's predatory instincts more than ever as it makes an attempt to reach the finals after ending up with the wooden spoon last season.

”I don't think I'll be under pressure! Playing in the MLS in the off-season has helped and I've set myself a target this year and I want to build on my previous two seasons,” he said.

”We have some great attacking options this year but I'm always challenging myself and I need to be scoring goals to help us win games and get into the playoffs.”

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