Olympics-Soccer-New Zealand's Hay prepared to wait for injured Boxall

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Soccer Football - Peru v New Zealand - 2018 World Cup Qualifying Playoffs

(Reuters) - New Zealand coach Danny Hay said he will give Michael Boxall every chance to play at the Tokyo Olympics despite the defender having to miss their opener against South Korea on Thursday through injury.

Boxall, one of three overage players in the squad, remains in the United States after sustaining a thigh injury with his club Minnesota United, but Hay is hoping the 32-year-old can travel to Japan to link up with the squad.

"We're giving him as long as possible, and if that means we get him for the last group game then fantastic, it would be like bringing in a new signing," Hay was quoted as saying by New Zealand website Stuff.

"Hopefully, if we do what we're capable of and make our way through to the next round, if he's here for that, then brilliant.

"We've made a commitment to him and the rest of the team that we're going to give 'Boxy' as much time as needed to try and prove his fitness so that he can get over here."

New Zealand face the Koreans on Thursday before taking on Honduras and Romania in Group B, with the top two teams advancing to the quarter-finals.

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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