AUCKLAND - The All Whites' Oceania Nations Cup failure in June has given them "a little kick" to ensure there won't be any slip-ups in the latest stage of qualifying for soccer's World Cup.
New Zealand's defeat at the semi-final stages in the Solomon Islands three months ago meant they missed out on a lucrative appearance at next year's Confederations Cup.
They gained some revenge for that loss to New Caledonia by beating the same opponents 2-0 in Noumea on Friday night, when the final phase of Oceania qualifying for the World Cup began.
The goals came from strikers Shane Smeltz and Chris Wood, who both played in the defeat in Honiara.
"It's massive to get the first one out of the way," Smeltz said in Auckland yesterday.
"They were the team that beat us and a lot of the boys wanted to put that right."
Smeltz said the All Whites' inability to win the Nations Cup had served to increase their resolve to do the business in the World Cup qualifiers.
"It's given us a little kick to make sure we go out there and really get our jobs done," he said.
"If there's a positive to take from it, it's given us an extra focus for the World Cup campaign."
The All Whites next face the Solomons at North Harbour Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Solomons also won their opening match in the four-nation group, beating Oceania champions Tahiti 2-0.
They caused New Zealand problems in the Nations Cup, forcing a 1-1 draw in the pool stages and coming from 3-0 down in the third-place play-off to level at 3-3 before Smeltz got the winner deep into second-half stoppage time.
The All Whites will have a strengthened defence this time around, with the return of the English Premier League pair of skipper Ryan Nelsen and Winston Reid, who were absent from Honiara because of injury.