New Zealand lose Nelsen to injury for China friendly

The All Whites will have to make do without the veteran centre-back as they travel East, hoping to improve on their lacklustre 1-1 draw against China in March 2011
New Zealand will be without their talisman and leader Ryan Nelsen for their upcoming friendly against China on Wednesday night, after the QPR defender pulled out due to injury.

The 35-year-old has withdrawn from Herbert's squad due to ankle and knee problems, and will not be making the 11,000 mile round-trip to Shanghai.

Nelsen is a key part of Mark Hughes's plans this season and has started nine of the 11 Premier League matches so far, so both the club and the player are unwilling to risk aggravating any minor concerns.

New Zealand currently sit atop their World Cup qualification group with a maximum 12 points from 4 games played. Their remaining two fixtures are at home to second-placed New Caledonia on March 22, followed by a trip to the Solomon Islands on March 26.

16/5 New Zealand are 16/5 with bet365 to beat China
If they can finish the job and win the group they play a two-legged inter-continental qualifier against the fourth-placed team in the CONCACAF (North America).