New Zealand is currently ranked at number 79 on the FIFA rankings. New Zealand will be playing in their second FIFA World Cup tournament in 2010 in South Africa. The last time they featured in a FIFA World Cup tournament was in 1982 in Spain. They were knocked out in the first round of the tournament on that occasion. The New Zealand national football team is nicknamed the “All Whites”. Football is not a very big sport in New Zealand. New Zealand’s cricket team (the “Black Caps”) and their rugby team (the “All Blacks”) are more popular.
New Zealand have played in 3 FIFA Confederations Cup tournaments, in 1999 in Mexico, in 2003 in France and in 2009 in South Africa. They were knocked out in the first round of the competition on all 3 occasions. New Zealand have also played in 8 OFC Nations cup tournaments. The OFC Nations Cup is a football competition held among the Oceania Football Confederation member nations. New Zealand have won the OFC Nations cup 4 times, in 1973, 1998, 2002 and 2008. New Zealand played its first international football match against neighbours Australia in 1922. In 1981 New Zealand beat Fiji by 13 goals to 0, achieving their biggest win in football history. In 1936 New Zealand lost by 10 goals to 0 against Australia, the biggest loss in New Zealand football history.
Ricki Herbert is the current head coach of the New Zealand national football team. He took over from Mick Waitt (from England) in 2005. Ryan Nelsen is the current captain of the New Zealand national football team. He’s played for his country since 1999. So far he’s been featured in 38 matches. Ivan Vicelich is the most capped player in New Zealand football history. He’s played in 65 matches since 1995 for New Zealand and is still an active player. Vaughan Coveny is the top scoring New Zealand footballer in history. He scored 28 goals for New Zealand in 64 matches between 1992 and 2007.
New Zealand will play in 3 group matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa:
- 15 June 2010 – New Zealand vs Slovakia @ Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg – Kickoff at 13:30
- 20 June 2010 – New Zealand vs Italy @ Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit – Kickoff at 16:00
- 24 June 2010 – New Zealand vs Paraguay @ Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane – Kickoff at 16:00