Asia · Oceania · skysport.co.nz Columns · World Cup 2010

All Whites should look to take the initiative against Bahrain

So close, and yet …

No, it’s too early to think in platitudes. That’s for later, to explain what happened. Right now, the only thought in your head, if you’re an All White, is that you’re going to put your heart and soul on display this Saturday to get New Zealand to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

A 0-0 draw versus Bahrain a month ago means that New Zealand is closer to the World Cup than they’ve been since their only Finals appearance in 1982. For the return leg this Saturday in Wellington, it is hoped that the weather will benefit the home side, though current forecasts expect a slightly warmer day with no rain. Judging from ticket sales, the All Whites should at least have a strong partisan crowd in the Cake Tin.

Both teams will be looking to score, as a 0-0 draw would mean penalties and I can’t imagine either team feels confident enough of the outcome when it comes to spot kicks. Still, don’t expect either squad to come out firing in the first half. World Cup playoffs tend to be low-scoring affairs for a reason. Look for a tentative beginning for both teams, with the All Whites trying to retain possession and Bahrain looking to cut off any passing lanes and counterattack in small groups.

Read the rest of my column on skysport.co.nz >>

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2 thoughts on “All Whites should look to take the initiative against Bahrain

  1. Are you referring to the team name? The New Zealand football team has been known as the All Whites for decades, because their playing strip is all white (white top, white shorts, white socks). The more famous New Zealand Rugby team is known as the All Blacks, for the same reason (all black kit) and they’ve been around since the turn of the 20th century.

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