In a post-match press conference, he conceded New Zealand could never compete with a team like Japan.  

The 50-year-old, who is also the Technical Director of NZ Football, has since apologised to fans for his comments.

"When I said we will never compete with a team like Japan, I didn't mean we will never be able to beat them," he told Radio New Zealand.

"I meant we will never have the same technical skills like a Japanese or Brazilian team, but I'm convinced, and that is why I'm here, I know that we can compete and win against these teams," he added.

From the whistle, the Ferns dropped all 11 players behind the ball.

The result and comments soured a record crowd for women's football in New Zealand with 7,236 at Westpac Stadium.

The comments have seen former captain Abby Erceg break her silence on why she decided to retire once again, citing it was a result of Heraf's tactical approach.

Former Football Fern Katie Duncan attended the match and was furious with Heraf's ultra-defensive tactics and comments he made.

"He needs to go," she told

"This is my personal opinion but he's not welcome.

"He's in charge of the whole technical football in New Zealand and if that's his attitude, that we can never compete against the world's best, then he can leave.