Norman Garbett emulates All White brother Matt in scoring at age-group World Cup

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Fifa Under-20 World Cup: New Zealand v Argentina; Where: Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario; When: Saturday 9am [NZ time]; Coverage: Live on Sky Sport 9, live updates on Stuff

Every football substitute dreams of coming off the bench to score the winning goal.

That dream became a reality for Norman Garbett at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Argentina last weekend.

Five minutes after entering the field, he scored the winner for New Zealand against Guatemala, lifting the ball over goalkeeper Fausto Delgado.

Norman Garbett of New Zealand celebrates after scoring the winner against Guatemala at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Argentina.

Daniel Gollan/Photosport

Norman Garbett of New Zealand celebrates after scoring the winner against Guatemala at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Argentina.

It was an important goal as far as his side’s chances of making the round of 16 were concerned.

The Oceania champions followed up that 1-0 triumph with a 2-2 draw against Asian champions Uzbekistan and now face their South American hosts in their final match [kickoff Saturday 9am NZ time].

Garbett’s goal also created a little slice of history, making his the first New Zealand family to produce two age-group World Cup goalscorers.

His older brother Matt scored twice at the 2019 Fifa Under-17 World Cup – a stabbed effort against Angola and a swerving shot from distance against Canada.

Norman said “it was a really good feeling” to emulate his brother, who has since gone on to play for New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics and earn 14 All Whites caps, while scoring two senior international goals.

The 19-year-old wasn’t part of the squad for last year’s Oceania Under-19 Championship, though he had been part of the wider player pool while at the Western Suburbs club and the Olé Football Academy in Wellington.

He moved to Italy last August and joined third-tier club Potenza Calcio, where he plays for the youth team, coached by former Italian international Antonio Nocerino.

“At the start I struggled quite a lot with a lot of stuff,” Garbett said of his first season abroad.

“Moving to a country where I don’t speak the language … and just that it’s a whole different style of play [than in New Zealand] – it’s more focused on just getting results.”

At Christmas, Garbett’s parents came to visit him and Matt, who was then at Serie A club Torino, based at the other end of the country, and gave him a message: “Just focus on these next few months and just put good performances in”.

Goals and assists started to flow for Garbett in the second half of the season, leading to his World Cup call-up from coach Darren Bazeley, who noted this week that he had “developed physically” over the past year and was looking “really quick” and “really effective”.

The New Zealand under-20s’ current tally of four points could be enough to get them through to the round of 16, no matter what happens against Argentina, as the four best third-placed teams advance at the end of the group stage, though a win or a draw would put them there for sure.

After that, for Garbett, it will be a case of kicking on in Italy, while there is also a chance he could be involved with the national under-23 team, who have qualifiers for next year’s Paris Olympics in New Zealand in August and September.

Matt is also in the Olympics mix, having already moved on from Italy, first joining Dutch second-tier club NAC Breda on loan earlier this year, then agreeing to shift permanently at the end of this season, which could yet end with them being promoted.

Norman said that while he’s enjoyed following Matt’s career and “watching him do well,” he’s also been eager to have his own turn at things like going to – and scoring at – World Cups.

“I was just always waiting for – as Baze would say – ‘my time in the sun’.”

This month, in football-mad Argentina, that time has come.