Football in New Zealand is essentially a joke and usually plays a minor role compared to Rugby, Rugby League, Cricket, Netball, Yachting, Squash, Badminton, Table Tennis, American Football and Lawn Bowls.
The national side has qualified twice for the World Cup, firstly in 1982 and also for the forthcoming shite World Cup in South Africa.
Where the 1982 side actually earned their way into the tournament by playing 15 matches and facing tough Asian sides, the 2010 side qualified for the cup in the most dire fashion, illustrating all that is wrong with the world game these days.
The ‘All Whites’ played all of 8 games to qualify, beating powerhouses Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia in the pathetic Oceania section to earn a playoff with Bahrain. This improbably easy route to the finals is surely a mockery of the sport, when other sides play up to 18 games to earn a spot.
The only reason the Kiwis qualified was due to the absence of Australia, who would knock the All Whites out every four years usually. The Aussies sensibly chose to play in the Asian qualifying section, therefore ensuring better competition and being able to claim they actually earned their way in.
New Zealand’s poor route will ensure a repeat of their 1982 campaign, where they were matched against Brazil, Scotland and the USSR, all of whom thrashed the ‘plucky’ Kiwis. The 1982 side was comprised mostly of aging British amateurs who worked by day as labourers and factory workers. A few had tryouts with Rotherham and Halifax, but failed to make the grade. However simply by virtue of being British meant players would be selected for the national side, despite being no better than the average park player.
To raise money for plane tickets to Spain, the 1982 side did a massive amount of fundraising, including car washes, chopping fire wood, organizing spaghetti dinners and selling bags of wine gums on doorsteps. Unable to raise enough money for all the squad, some players were forced to stowaway on huge ships months before the cup kicked off. Duncan Cole and Alan Boath both arrived on the day of the opening game against Scotland, both malnourished and cowering.
During that World Cup Kiwi defenders could be seen following the ball, with five players to one man, leaving 8 unmarked opponents in the penalty area, all lining up to score. During the 4-0 loss to Brazil, the Brazilians actually played without a keeper, as the boys in yellow enjoyed 100 percent ball possession and played knockabout in the Kiwi’s penalty box for 86 of the 90 minutes.
However the Kiwis will always be labeled as having ‘heart’ and being ‘underdogs.’ In their opening game against Slovakia later this year they can be expected to score the opening goal, raising hopes, but going on to lose 4-1. A further 3-0 loss to Italy will sever all hopes, followed by a 5-0 thrashing by Paraguay, leaving them last in an utterly atrocious group.
Following their exit the fake enthusiasm for ‘Soccer’ will disappear overnight, as the supporters who backed them will revert back to rugby and claim ‘soccer is for fags.’ The national side will play their usual 2 internationals a year, often in front of 100 spectators at a local park with an uneven slope and goals without nets.
Like 1990, World Cup coverage on TV will also be non-existent, with ten minute highlight packages shown 5 days late. Only the final will be shown live, before being interrupted in the second half to show the Maori news show Te Karere.
It must be noted that football was not shown on free to air TV in New Zealand from 1990-1997 unless you had Sky TV, which was limited to one city.
It’s really no wonder New Zealand is a dismal footballing nation.
Then again the All Blacks are pretty crap too.
Their current captain is Ryan Nelsen, the Blackburn Rovers captain, who is known for his rugged, no-nonsense style of play. This may look quite good, an All White in the top flight in England, however it should be pointed out that Sam Allardyce is probably the most anti-football person ever and that anybody can play for Blackburn Rovers, provided they are over six feet tall, built like a brickhouse, can kick the ball 200 yards in the air and are able to shout and dispute every single refereeing decision, even in cases as indefensible as the Benjamin Massing tackle.
Other squad members include Kris Bright, who is unable to even get on the bench at Shrewsbury Town.