Tag: New Zealand

New Zealand Revive Memories Of The Summer Of 1982

New Zealand have qualified for the 2010 World Cup finals by beating Bahrain in Wellington this morning, and this result may have stirred a few memories amongst men of a certain age that will remember their only other successful qualification attempt, from 1982.

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The Confederations Cup: South Africa 2-0 New Zealand

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The clock was ticking this evening as South Africa’s Confederations Cup bid slowly dragged itself to life this evening, with a performance that added little to the widely held perception that they are likely to be the worst host nation in the history of the World Cup when the show rolls into town. On Sunday, they seemed reasonably resolute defensively but betrayed the key indicator of a team playing at a level above its current station – an inability to score which passed rapidly through farcical to, by the time the ball bounced off Bernard Parker’s backside with five minutes to play, well and truly into the realms of low comedy. For the first twenty minutes this evening, however, the clocked ticked and tocked as South Africa continued to labour unnecessarily against a New Zealand team that was just as limited as it was in conceding four goals in twenty-five minutes against Spain at the weekend. The passing was neat and tidy enough, though they didn’t come under too much pressure to actually stop passing it around, but once they got to the penalty area everything started to go south and they were reduced to speculative shots from improbable angles and unlikely distances. The goal, when it came, was the one occasion upon which everything clicked, although even then they were dependent on a deflection...

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The Confederations Cup: New Zealand 0 – 5 Spain

Iker Casillas is a one club man. He first signed for Real Madrid Juniors at the age of ten, and has been at the Bernebau ever since. He has played almost three hundred and fifty matches for Real and, at the age of twenty-eight, has also made ninety-three matches for Spain as well. Considering that Real can get crowds of anything up to 10,000 for their training sessions, there was one question that drifted through my mind this evening: is the smallest football crowd that Iker Casillas has ever seen? Did he believe that such an empty stadium was possible when a match was being played? Quite possibly not. He certainly had a slightly surprised look on his face as he swapped pennants with the New Zealand captain before the match. This match was, of course, a massacre, and its’s difficult to to have some sympathy for the hapless New Zealanders. One wonders what the psychological torment that they must go through is like. One minute, they’re the lords of all that they survey. Now that Australia have departed for the more challenging waters of the AFC, they be surely now be the perpetual champions of their confederation. They have already sewn up the OFC place in the play-off against the fifth best team in Asia for a place at the 2010 World Cup Finals. They win these matches...

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The Confederations Cup – A (Very) Rough Guide

For some people, the end of the football season in years that end with odd numbers means a return to the real world. For two and a half months they become normal people, spending time with family and friends, allowing their sofas and their wallets to recover from the arduous few months that have just passed and giving every impression of being normal, well-rounded human beings. Others choose to prop themselves up with another sport, like tennis, cricket or rugby league. The rest of us, though, are suddenly rudderless. In years ending in even numbers, the end of the domestic football season means the beginning of getting excited about the World Cup or the European Championships (which is often better than the tournament itself). Those years ending in odd numbers, though… we spend the summer months staring blankly at “Big Brother” on the television or sitting in the pub wondering if it would be improper to try and instigate a conversation amongst your friends on the subject of just how much Roger Tames looked like Roger de Courcey (of “Nookie Bear” fame). This year, though, we have the Confederations Cup. FIFA’s excuse for the Confederations Cup makes a degree of sense. It’s a warm up for next years World Cup finals – chance for the host nation to test out its media and transport infrastructure prior to the tournament...

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The Long & Winding Road

I’m having a rare night off tonight, to refresh my frazzled batteries. So, I’m giving this place over the good people at Sportsfreak for their analysis of the current travails of the New Zealand football team. They could be set to make the World Cup Finals for the first time in nearly three decades. On the other side of the world from Europe, twelve hours before a night of European Championship qualification (or otherwise), New Zealand virtually guaranteed themselves passage through to the next round of qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup by knocking off fellow regional heavyweights Vanuatu. That’s right – the much maligned Oceania confederation is a good two years ahead of the rest of the world. Oceania has always been the ugly kid sister of the FIFA family. So much so that our dear friends over the other side of the Tasman Sea decided that it was way too lowly for them, and felt the Sheilaroos were best served by taking their toys and playing with their new friends in Asia. So now the ugly kid sister is even smaller. But it has always been a difficult group from which to qualify, largely because there is no continuity of matches of a similar standard. New Zealand have only qualified for the World Cup once before (in 1982), and in doing so set the world record...

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