TOMMY Smith will be hoping to help New Zealand clinch their place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup tonight.

The Colchester United skipper is part of the All Whites squad that will take on play Costa Rica in a one-off World Cup qualifying match.

The winner of the Inter-Continental Play-Off, which will be played at the Al Rayyan Stadium in Qatar and will kick-off at 7pm, will clinch the final available spot for this winter's tournament in Qatar.

New Zealand set up their showdown game with Costa Rica after progressing through the Oceania qualifying stages, winning their final game against Soloman Islands 5-0 in the Middle East.

The All Whites warmed up for tonight's game with a 0-0 draw against Oman at the Education City Stadium in Doha, last week.

Smith previously played every minute of the 2010 World Cup for New Zealand in South Africa.


The U's defender now has nearly 50 international caps under his belt and has been a constant in the New Zealand squad this season, helping them battle their way to the Intercontinental Play-Off.

Smith said: "I don't think you'd be human if you hadn't thought about the World Cup a little bit, especially when the groups came out and you're watching the draw and you can see that we could be coming up against Germany, Spain and Japan, if we get through this game.

"So of course there's excitement on the one hand but also knowing that there's a job to be done, before you can let yourself get too excited about it."


Smith has made 83 league and cup appearances for Colchester since joining them on a permanent basis in August, 2020.

The 32-year-old also played six games while on loan at the U's from Ipswich Town, in the 2010-11 season.

Smith missed some of Colchester's matches this season due to being away on international duty, with Luke Chambers taking the captain's armband in his place.

Chambers says his defensive team-mate is a big influence at the U's.

Chambers said: “Tommy’s been a tremendous servant for his country and he’s been brilliant here with us.

“His presence is missed, when he’s not here.

“He leads the way and sets the standards at the club and we’re just there to give him as much support as possible."