GROUP F: Can New Zealand achieve success against the odds?

New Zealand are in the World Cup finals for just the second time in their history so it is likely that they may fly under the radar in South Africa.

New Zealand are in the World Cup finals for just the second time in their history so it is likely that they may fly under the radar in South Africa.

The players and coaching staff will still surely be riding high after gaining qualification to the world’s biggest sporting event and they assure their fans that they are not going over to make up the numbers.

Recent results suggest the All Whites are a definite threat in Group F but things would have to go their way if they are to emulate neighbours Australia who shocked the world by almost getting through to the quarter-finals in Germany.

There are plenty of similarities between the All Whites of 2010 and the Socceroos of 2006 although the Kiwis are a touch more working-class than what Guus Hiddink’s men were.

All is there before this group of players, some of which are completely unknown on the world stage, and they have nothing to lose but I don’t think they have enough overall ability to join defending champions Italy in the final 16.

New Zealand

Playing schedule: Slovakia (Rustenburg) June 15; Italy (Nelspruit) June 20; Paraguay (Polokwane) June 24

Also known as: All Whites
Manager: Ricki Herbert (NZL)
Captain: Ryan Nelsen
Key players: Shane Smeltz, Tim Brown, Ryan Nelsen, Chris Killen
Wildcard: Chris Wood
Player to watch: Rory Fallon
Most caps: Ivan Vicelich (66)
Top goalscorer: Vaughan Coveny (28). Of this squad: Shane Smeltz (16)
FIFA ranking: 78
Qualifying: Top of Oceania group. Defeat Bahrain in Oceania v Asia play-off.
Appearance: 2nd
Best result: Group stage – 1982

New Zealand

Goalkeepers

Mark Paston (Wellington Phoenix)
Glen Moss (Melbourne Victory)
James Bannatyne (Team Wellington)

Defenders

Ben Sigmund (Wellington Phoenix)
Tony Lochhead (Wellington Phoenix)
Winston Reid (FC Midtjylland)
Ivan Vicelich (Auckland City)
Ryan Nelsen (Blackburn Rovers)
Andrew Boyens (New York Red Bull)
Tommy Smith (Ipswich Town)

Midfielders

Simon Elliott (unattached)
Tim Brown (Wellington Phoenix)
Leo Bertos (Wellington Phoenix)
Andy Barron (Team Wellington)
Michael McGlinchey (Motherwell)
Aaron Clapham (Canterbury United)
David Mulligan (unattached)
Jeremy Christie (Tampa Bay Rowdies)
Jeremy Brockie (Newcastle Jets)

Forwards

Shane Smeltz (Gold Coast United)
Chris Killen (Middlesbrough)
Rory Fallon (Plymouth Argyle)
Chris Wood (West Bromwich Albion)

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