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New Zealand

New Zealand

Team Widget

Team Profile: New Zealand

GettyImagesRory Fallon's goal took the All Whites to their first final in 28 years

Appearances at finals:
1982 - First round

Overall record at finals: Played 3, Won 0, Drawn 0, Lost 3.

Best performance: First round in 1982.

Most appearances at finals: Frank van Hattum (1982), Ricki Herbert (1982), Wynton Rufer (1982), Steve Wooddin (1982), Steve Sumner (1982), Keith Mackay (1982), Kenny Cresswell (1982), Adrian Elrick (1982), Allan Boath (1982), Duncan Cole (1982) - 3.

Most goals at finals: Steve Sumner (1982), Steve Wooddin (1982) - 1.

World Cup high: Qualifying for the 1982 World Cup by beating China 2-1 in neutral Singapore after a gruelling campaign through Oceania and Asia.

World Cup low: Crashing 5-2 to Scotland in their first ever World Cup match.

World Cup legend: Captain Steve Sumner was ever-present in qualifying and at the 1982 World Cup itself. His goal against Scotland was the first by any Oceanian player at a finals tournament.

The story so far: New Zealand's one and only World Cup finals appearance in Spain 1982 is now folklore for followers of football in the country. No team travelled further or played more games than the 'All Whites' as they qualified through Oceania and Asia. A 5-2 loss to Scotland in the first group game was a sign of things to come as 3-0 and 4-0 defeats to USSR and Brazil followed.

Fast-forward 28 years and Rory Fallon, the son of 1982 assistant coach Kevin Fallon, scored the only goal as New Zealand beat Bahrain in a play-off to return to the world stage in 2010.

Qualification: Other than South Africa, who qualified automatically as hosts, New Zealand had arguably the easiest path to the finals. They cruised past their Oceania Nations Cup rivals throughout 2008 and 2009 to qualify for Oceania's 'half' place at South Africa, with Shane Smeltz scoring eight of the All Whites' 14 goals.

That just left Asia's fifth-best side, Bahrain, in their way. Bahrain had lost to Trinidad & Tobago at this stage four years previously and, after grinding out a 0-0 draw in Manama, New Zealand inflicted similar pain by edging out their evenly matched opponents to send the nation into a rare ecstasy over the beautiful game.

Qualifying record: P6, W5, D0, L1, F14, A5, Pts15.

Most appearances: Ben Sigmund (8).

Top goalscorer: Shane Smeltz (8).