Rory Fallon (in white) headers the winning goal
Football doesn’t have a high profile here in NZ where it’s all about rugby, so it’s great that the sport will benefit from the increased exposure. Lots more kiwi kids play football over the last few years but when they reach a certain age the boys tend to swap to rugby so comparatively few players reach the top levels unfortunately.
26 countries have qualified in 6 zones for the 2010 finals so far, while another 5 places are still to be finalised.
- Europe: England, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Slovakia, Switzerland, Italy, Serbia and Spain
- Africa: South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria
- North America, Central America and Caribbean: United States, Honduras and Mexico
- South America: Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Paraguay
- Asia: Australia, Japan, Korea (North), Korea (South)
- Oceania: New Zealand
The first games kick off in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2010. Realistically we understand we’re minnows especially against the Euro teams and the big South American teams so we’ll no doubt be out after the first round but it’s just fun even getting there for us - who knows though what could happen?
Photographs by Getty Images
*EDIT* I just had a browse though a BBC forum regarding the New Zealand qualification. Some commenters there don’t share our joy.