Sigmund's card boost

Jon McKain's red card in Wellington Phoenix's dramatic Hyundai A-League semi-final win over Perth Glory has been a blessing for team-mate Ben Sigmund.

Jon McKain's red card in Wellington Phoenix's dramatic Hyundai A-League semi-final win over Perth Glory has been a blessing for team-mate Ben Sigmund.

Since his return from a three-game ban for punching, Sigmund had had just two starts prior to the 15 minutes he got against Glory in extra time last Sunday.

And the Phoenix defender believes those precious minutes will be invaluable ahead of New Zealand's World Cup warm-up match against Mexico in Los Angeles next week, particularly given the absence of injured skipper Ryan Nelsen and Ivan Vicelich, who is suspended for the game against the 17th-ranked team in the world.

"When you haven't played for a few weeks the mind starts doubting that you can actually go out and do it," Sigmund said.

"It was nice to get that bit of confidence and go on and get a bit of a feel for it and know when my chance comes I can do it."

"I thought with 15 to go they would throw Daniel on for a late winner or something. It turns out Jon McKain got the red card and it turned pretty quickly. It's quite amazing."

Nelsen sent a big scare through the All Whites camp when he injured his knee playing for Blackburn Rovers on Monday morning.

But the injury was not as bad as first feared meaning the defensive lynchpin is likely to miss four to six weeks of football in the build-up to the World Cup.

"It might be a blessing in disguise that he is rested up a little bit and he will be peaking at the World Cup for us," said Sigmund.

"That time off is probably perfect for him and he's still got two, maybe three months to get fit for the World Cup."

"It will be like a pre-season to him again and I think that's perfect. There will be a few games and a bit of intensity work and he'll be off and buzzing for us in no time."

There will certainly be no let up in Sigmund's schedule.

He departs for Los Angeles on Monday and returns the day before the Phoenix's cut-throat play-off against the Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium.

While it is not ideal Sigmund says he and his fellow New Zealand internationals at the Phoenix - Leo Bertos, Tony Lochhead, Tim Brown and injured goalkeeper Mark Paston - are used to the hectic nature of being an international footballer.

"There are no excuses now it's finals football. As soon as we lose a game of football we're out," Sigmund said.

The thought of it going down to extra-time and penalties again though is not an appealing one.

"Definitely not, not for me anyway," he said before adding with a laugh: "I'm sure (goalkeeper) Liam (Reddy) would love it because he loves the limelight."