The All Whites have completed their confederation Fifa World Cup qualifying campaign unbeaten after a 2-0 win over the Solomon Islands in Honiara yesterday afternoon.
Blackburn Rovers utility Tim Payne was the star for New Zealand, netting goals in the opening and closing stages of the match at Lawson Tama Stadium to give the All Whites six wins from six starts in stage three qualifying for the Oceania region.
Payne scored in the third minute, rifling home after a high tempo counter attack sparked by captain on the day Ben Sigmund and returning Canterbury United midfielder Aaron Clapham.
Playing in behind a lone striker, Payne had to wait until two minutes before the fulltime to put the result beyond doubt when he tapped home a Kosta Barbarouses rebound.
Coach Ricki Herbert fielded an entirely new starting eleven and was pleased with the way the new players took their opportunity.
Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante, clubmate Cameron Lindsay and Team Wellington's Luke Rowe debuted and there were recalls for goalkeeper Jacob Spoonley and Waitakere United defender Aaron Scott.
"It was a professional performance and I thought the new players slipped into the system really well, they all did their jobs and it was quite comfortable in the end," Herbert said.
He took the opportunity to rest his players on yellow cards, with the only player in the starting line up under suspension threat, left back Ian Hogg, picking up his second caution in the 12th minute. Hogg will now miss the intercontinental playoff in November.
The All Whites will spend the day in Honiara before returning to their respective clubs on Thursday.
New Zealand wrapped up the intercontinental playoff spot against an as-yet unknown opponent in November with a 2-1 win over New Caledonia in Dunedin on Friday.
Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and the USA are vying for three automatic qualifying places, with the fourth placed set to face the All Whites in a home-and-away playoff in November.
The first match of the tie will be played away on November 13 or 14, with the return leg scheduled for November 20 in New Zealand.
Solomon Islands: 0
New Zealand: 2 (Payne 3', 88')