Not All White: Where NZ are going wrong.

18.06.09

Parker was a beneficiary of NZs atrocious defending.

Parker was a beneficiary of NZ's atrocious defending.

I will concede that I’m not a very big supporter of new Zealand’s All Whites. My loyalties lie very much with England when it comes to international football and usually I’m not really bothered by NZ’s results. However, I am an avid supporter of New Zealand football in general. As an exiled Englishman who is fanatical about football I’m very keen to see the profile and popularity if the game raised in this largely egg-chasing country. And I know that the best way for that to happen would be for the All Whites to qualify for next year’s World Cup, and so in that quest they have my support.

After watching this morning’s game though, I’m very worried. The 5-0 defeat to Spain can be struck off, that means nothing. But if NZ are serious about overcoming Asia’s 5th placed qualifier and making the World Cup they will need to improve vastly from their showing against South Africa. They were beaten 2-0, but had the Bafana’s finishing been up to scratch it could have been many more, and NZ’s complete toothlessness in attack and haplessness at the back is of a major concern for New Zealand football fans, myself included.

Click through to find out where NZ went wrong…

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Spain 5-0 New Zealand: Five Conclusions

15.06.09
It was as easy as "1-2-3-4-5!" for Spain.

It was as easy as "1-2-3-4-5!" for Spain.

1. Spain could have had double figures…
…if they’d have wanted it. Fernando Torres struck a hat-trick inside 17 minutes and with Cesc Fabregas netting the fourth goal inside 25 minutes, Spain were literally cutting New Zealand open at will. Indeed it was getting rather embarrassing for the ‘All Whites’ (what’s wrong with just saying ‘New Zealand’?) until the champions of Euro 2008 eased their foot off the pedal and reduced the tempo, content to merely knock the ball about and very much reducing the game to a training exercise.

Some will claim that the slowing in scoring was the result of New Zealand solidifying their defence but that just wasn’t the case. Had Spain had the motivation to, they would have embarrassed the kiwis with relative ease. With NZ just a two leg qualifier against the 5th place Asian side away from the World Cup next year, this match simply served to demonstrate what we all knew – that the gap between Europe and Oceania is enormous, and NZ have a long way to go before establishing themselves as a competitive international football side.

Click through for four more conclusions…


Confederations Cup: Major or Meaningless?

13.06.09
Even the trophy is a cheap knockoff of the World Cup.

Even the trophy is a cheap knockoff of the World Cup.

A few weeks ago, as the Premier League season drew to a close and Everton lost out in the FA Cup Final to Chelsea, I lamented the onset of a long summer with no major tournament, which cursed us to a few long months with no football to savour. I made that remark in full knowledge of the fact that the Confederations Cup was to be played this summer, and I stand by it. But why is a tournament that will feature Spain, Brazil and Italy not deemed a ‘major’ international tournament to the majority of football fans?

Especially given the fact that as a rule, the nations involved, even the big ones, tend to send something resembling their strongest squad to the competition. This year’s tournament will see the likes of Xavi, Torres, Kaka, Robinho, Pirlo and Buffon gracing South African pitches. And yet, no one really seems that bothered. It certainly appears to be one of footballs little anomalies, that while we’re all sat around in the sun complaining that it’s too hot and there’s no football, there are actually some world class players doing battle.

So why aren’t we watching? Click through to find out…