The national football team for New Zealand represents that country in international association football.
It is controlled by the New Zealand governing body for football, the NZF, and this body is a member of the Oceania Football Confederation, or OFC. The official nickname for this team is the All Whites, in relation to that other famous NZ export, the All Blacks.
New Zealand Football Clubs Stay Semi-Professional
New Zealand has won the OFC Championships 5 times, and represented New Zealand in the FIFA World Cup in 1982 and 2010, along with the FIFA Confederations Cups in 1999, 2003 and 2009. Thanks to the fact that the majority of football clubs in New Zealand are only semi-professional, the majority of footballers from this country play abroad, for clubs in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe.
The All Whites’ Early Years
The first international match that New Zealand took part in was at Dunedin on the 23rd of July 1904, against a team from New South Wales. The All Whites did not manage to win the game, although only 1 was scored, but went on to draw with the same team in a 3 – 3 game 7 days later. The next year, they played a team from Wellington on the 10th of June before setting off for a tour of Australia during which they faced off against 11 sides, including 3 Test matches against New South Wales. They lost 1, drew 1, and won 1.
More Recent Successes by the NZ Team
Since the 1990s, college soccer in the USA has played a very contributory role in New Zealand players’ development. The influence started when Bobby Clark, the former Scot international, went back to the USA after spending the years 1994 – 1996 in New Zealand in the position of head coach. He returned to take a head coach position at the University of Stanford, a position he now holds at Notre Dame, and he started recruiting in NZ, with former NZ national players Simon Elliott and Ryan Nelson playing for him.
The All Whites formerly went up against the Australian team for the OFC’s top honours, but, after Australia left in order to join the AFC in 2006, the All Whites were the only seeded team left in the OFC.
New Zealand formerly competed against Australia for top honours in the OFC. However, after the All Whites managed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup of 2010, but they had to exit the competition after its 1st round, despite being the only side that did not incur one loss throughout the tournament. This competition also featured one of the All Whites’ most noteworthy results: a draw, 1 – 1, with the then-reigning world champions, Italy. NZ drew their remaining 2 pool games with Paraguay and Slovakia, thus inexorably finishing above Italy, who had placed last. The All Whites finished all 3 games with a draw, finishing 3rd in their group, but this was not enough to see them through.