One Last All Whites World Cup 2010 Fascinating Fact

by A.D Paterson on 15/07/2010

Ok, there might actually be more than one, but it makes the title a bit wishy-washy if you say ‘one, maybe two, maybe more, last facts…’

After the loss of the Netherlands to Spain in the finals of the World Cup in Africa, The All Whites were the only team to leave the competition without losing a match. When I pointed this out to a friend (an England supporter) I was asked if this wasn’t a ‘hollow victory’, I said ‘no’ – here’s why:

New Zealand has a population of just over 4 million, rugby as a national sport, cricket as a second sport, and few genuinely footballing teams in the region to compete against in friendlies.

The team has players spread out throughout the world, but very few playing at the highest level, in fact, at least two of the players at the World Cup were non-professionals. Our only domestic team of note (based on the competition they play in) is the Wellington Phoenix, and they have to play in the Australian A-League.

New Zealand last played in the showcase of world football way back in 1982. That year, in Spain, they played Scotland, Russia, and Brazil, losing all the games and scoring just two goals (against Scotland). Hopes of doing better this time around were higher, but not unrealistically so – to being with.

A group with New Zealand, Italy, Paraguay, and Slovakia might not have seemed to be the hardest to get out of, but New Zealand still weren’t given much of a chance before the first ball of the group was kicked. By the end of the group stages The All Whites were on the verge of getting through to the last 16 and more surprisingly, had a great chance of finishing top of the group. But it wasn’t to be.

Leaving the World Cup at that stage, unbeaten, may have been a hollow victory to some, but it’s one that many countries would gladly have taken. Also, as a result of that performance, New Zealand had the highest climb of any team in the latest FIFA world rankings – up 24 places to number 54. Not bad, I’d have to say, well done ‘The All Whites’.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

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