Abby Erceg out of retirement again, available for Football Ferns with World Cup drawing near

Former Football Ferns captain Abby Erceg has made herself available for selection again with the FIFA Women's World Cup on the horizon.

Football New Zealand announced this morning the 29-year-old is prepared to return to the international stage and hoping to help the team's efforts in France in June later this year.

Football Ferns coach Tom Sermanni said Erceg's return was significant for the squad, with 132 A International caps as well as three Olympic Games and three World Cups since her 2006 debut to draw experience from.

"Abby is a world-class and highly experienced international player," said Sermanni.

"To have someone of her ability make herself available for the programme as we build to the World Cup is a huge boost for everyone."

Erceg retired from international duties for a second time last year after a serious fallout with former Ferns coach Andreas Heraf and the defensive gameplans he was enforcing on the team in their 3-1 loss to Japan in Wellington last June.

"You can see how I couldn't stand to wear that fern on my chest any more when his vision was to cower in a corner and not get beat by too much," she told Stuff at the time.

"I don't work my butt off to get to Olympics or World Cups to not get beat by too much."

Heraf has since been replaced by Sermanni after an investigation found a "toxic culture" in the team with the Austrian at the helm.

Erceg will be available for the Ferns' first international friendlies of 2019 as they prepare for World Cup.

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The Ferns will compete in the inaugural Cup of Nations against fellow FIFA Women’s World Cup contestants Australia, Argentina and Korea Republic from 28 February to 6 March before playing World No 1 and defending FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions USA on 19 May in St Louis.

At the World Cup, The Football Ferns have been drawn in Group E, where they will face Canada, Cameroon and the Netherlands.

The Football Ferns squad for the Cup of Nations in Australia in February and March will be named next week.

Abby Erceg. The USWNT tied New Zealand, 1-1, at an international friendly at Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH.
Football Ferns player Abby Erceg. Source: Photosport

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