Tommy Smith’s New Zealand fall to Mexico in World Cup qualifying bid

Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith

Ipswich Town defender Tommy Smith - Credit: Archant

Tommy Smith failed in his quest to follow in Terry Butcher’s footsteps as his New Zealand side were hammered by Mexico in their World Cup qualifying play-off.

All Whites captain Smith was hoping to become the first Town player since Butcher to play in back-to-back World Cups.

But, having lost the first-leg of the play-off 5-1 at the famed Azteca Stadium in Mexico last week, New Zealand were battered 4-2 in the return leg today to bow out 9-3 on aggregate.

A first-half hat-trick from Oribe Peralta in New Zealand crushed any slim hopes of a comeback before Chris James and former Town loanee Rory Fallon scored late consolations.

But Carlos Pena added a fourth for Mexico late on to complete the two-leg thrashing.

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Smith tweeted after the game today: “Unlucky boys. Was always going to be tough against Mexico and their footballing pedigree. “We never gave up though and showed great character.

“I also want to say that the crowd was amazing, never stopped cheering us on and definitely played their part in us grabbing two goals back!”

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