EXCLUSIVE: New Zealand's Brockie will never forget World Cup experience
New Zealand forward Jeremy Brockie admits he won't be forgetting what he experienced at the World Cup in a hurry. The 22-year old Newcastle Jets recruit made his first World Cup finals appearance in the All Whites' final group stage match against Paraguay and said it was the highlight of his career so far.
"It was amazing, I dreamed of representing my country at a World Cup and I was very lucky to have it come true. It was an unbelievable experience and something I will never forget," he told tribalfootball.com.
"I was really nervous just before I went on which is unusual for me but as soon as I crossed the white line they (nerves) went away. It is definitely my career highlight to date."
The New Zealand team surprised many in South Africa, recording three draws from their three group matches and becoming the only undefeated team of the tournament when they were expected to go home pointless but Brockie insisted that the players and coaches believed they could achieve success.
"We wanted to go on the pitch and perform to the best of our ability," he added. "We knew as a team if we played as well as we can we would have a chance, we surprised a lot of people all over the world and now after Spain winning the final, NZ were the only unbeaten team at the World Cup.
"I think if we had have been told before the tournament we were going to get three draws then we would have taken it but as the tournament went on we were getting closer to going through to the next round and after the game against Paraguay we were all disappointed because all it would have taken was one goal."
The achievement of the All Whites is expected to benefit the sport greatly in New Zealand and Brockie was confident things would only improve from here on in.
"For football in NZ this was massive, it was a great achievement for the country to qualify but to then go and compete against the best teams in the world and come out unbeaten, the game in NZ will only keep growing from now which is brilliant."
Brockie, who kicked off his career in Nelson before enjoying stints with Canterbury United, New Zealand Knights, Sydney FC, Hawkes Bay United and North Queensland Fury, said it was amazing to see some of the world's best players firsthand and named those who he really learned something from watching.
"To rub shoulders with the best teams and players in the world was an amazing experience. Players that stood out for me were Xavi from Spain, Robinho from Brazil, (Diego) Forlan from Uruguay and (Wesley) Sneijder from Holland," Brockie added further.
A major talking point of the World Cup was the adidas 'Jabulani' balls that were used but Brockie refrained from criticising it as everybody had to deal with the same problems.
"I guess the ball moved around a bit here and there but at the end of the day everyone had to play with it so everyone was in the same boat," he said diplomatically.
And as for the upcoming term he is preparing for with new club the Jets, Brockie said things were tracking well just over a month out from the season proper.
"I'm now back in pre-season with the Jets, training hard before the season starts and trying to cement a starting eleven spot for the first game against Adelaide and I'm loving being back here," he said. "They are all a great bunch of boys and work hard for each other. We have still a month before our first game and we have a lot of friendlies lined up to make sure we are peaking at the right time."