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OlyWhites out to 'turn heads' in Tokyo with historic campaign

The OlyWhites are heading into their Olympic campaign quietly confident they can "turn heads" in Tokyo.

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Striker Chris Wood and coach Danny Hay believe they have the talent to rack up some milestones this Olympics. Source: 1 NEWS

The men's football team enter the tournament having yet to win a game at an Olympics after two previous campaigns in 2008 and 2012.

Unlike Beijing and London though, the New Zealand football team this year boasts plenty of talent, with over half the squad playing professional leagues in Europe including Burnley star Chris Wood and Winston Reid.

Wood, one of three over-aged players allowed in the under-23s squad, told media today the squad has come together well ahead of their first game on Thursday against South Korea.

"There's some exciting young talent coming through," Wood said.

"We're quietly confident we can turn some heads."

The OlyWhites during the national anthems before the New Zealand v Australia Olympic warm-up Football game. Source: Photosport

Thursday's game will give them a good gauge of where they're at for the tournament, with the South Koreans being the hardest match on paper of their pool play.

"Korea were bronze medallists last Olympics for a reason," coach Danny Hay said.

"We've watched a lot of footage of them. They're a good side, they've got real strengths in a lot of areas. Counter-attack is one of them, they're a very, very capable team.

"There's potentially a little bit of lack of understanding of just the quality we're coming up against in terms of a side like that."

After South Korea, the men then have matches against Romania and Honduras; targetable games for their goal of finishing top two in their group and advancing to the quarter-finals.

Wood isn't buying in to the favourable draw talk though.

"In terms of everything else, on paper it might be an easier group, but it's definitely not going to be," he said.

"We've seen footage of all [the] teams, they're looking strong, they're looking capable - every single one of them. So, it's going to be [a] tough three games, all three of them.

"We're going to have to be finely tuned and ready to go, or else we won't be able to deliver what we can deliver."

Hay added he believes in this squad though.

"We're fully aware that if we play to our potential, we can do some good things."