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September 14, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Something big is coming: New Zealand vs. Bahrain

If I were to ask the majority of New Zea­landers what the most important sport­ing event that will be hosted on these shores in the next couple of years will be, I’m fairly confident that most would reply: the 2011 Rugby World Cup. However, I’m also fairly confident that all those who gave that reply would be wrong.

No, in fact the most important sporting event that will take place on these shores in the next few years will actually occur in November, on the 14th to be precise, and it will take place at the Westpac Stadium. I’m talking, of course, about the All Whites’ World Cup Qualifying match, which will be played over two legs against Bahrain, with the decisive second match taking place right here in Wellington.

This means then on 14 November New Zealand may finally qualify for what is arguably the biggest sporting occasion on the calendar, though it probably sneaks in second behind the Olympics. The FIFA World Cup is a big deal, 32 nations will descend upon South Africa with the dream of claiming the ultimate prize from the most popular sport in the world.

Naturally though, some will argue that here in New Zealand, football isn’t a big deal. Some will even call it by the wrong name. They will tell me that I’m a buffoon for suggesting that a measly qualifying match could be more important that the Rugby World Cup. But when you really think about it, this is a match that has an enormous amount riding on it.

Rugby is New Zealand’s number one sport, I’m not contesting that. The All Blacks are a national treasure (when they’re winning at least) and nothing and no All Whites are going to change that. But football is popular here; in fact more Kiwis play football at some level than any other sport. And yet New Zealand have only ever qualified for the World Cup once, way back in 1982, when ‘Retro Ricki’ was just, well, ‘Ricki’.

Of course, there’s a reason for that. Up until recently, the prospects for a career in football in New Zealand were exceedingly limited. If you were good at football as a kid, so what? No one was going to pay you to play; you had to get a real job like everyone else—unless you were also good at rugby. But that’s now starting to change. We now have a professional side, our very own Wellington Phoenix, and football in this part of the world is booming.

After Australia qualified for the last FIFA World Cup, the game experienced a huge surge in popularity. They realised that they could tap into the global football market, their A-League grew from strength to strength and is now attracting some very high-profile players, and now they’ve qualified again. While it isn’t competing with their powerhouse sports like Aussie Rules and cricket, people are beginning to realise that football can be more than just a social sport.

If the All Whites can win their qualifier against Bahrain, a similar thing will happen here. Football fever will spread through the nation and we’ll start to believe that football is something that we can be good at. There’ll be greater incentive to invest in developing young talent, and with the continued expansion of the A-League, aspiring footballers will have a realisable dream of playing professionally.

Such a thing would completely change the sporting landscape of New Zealand, and that’s why this qualifier could be more important than the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Of course rugby will always be number one in this country, but if the football bug takes hold then New Zealand will truly be able to feel a part of the massive global football community. No game in the world is so widely loved, and no game brings nations and people together quite like football.

So forget the Rugby World Cup, that’ll come around soon enough. But for now, let’s focus on November 14th at Westpac Stadium. Tickets are on sale now, so get your mates together and get down there, give the lads your support and let’s hope we can get New Zealand on the footballing map.

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  1. Thomas rewi says:

    The all whites of 2009 are an OK side who are probally one of the most luckiest international football sides in the world. Here are my reasons.

    1. Firstly Australia (in 2006 and before) had to play the 5th placed SOUTH AMERICAN side (who is the likes of Argentina,Chile and Uruguay) and NZ only have to play the 5th place ASIAN side (Saudi Arabia and Bahrain) which in the FIFA rankings is a massive difference in quality. Because Argentina is 8th in the world and Uruguay,28th and then Bahrain, 64th and Saudi Arabia, 65th. I know a lot of you would say that it doesn’t matter what your ranking is its how you perform today, but you got to agree it does make a difference.

    2.We have the 2nd leg as our home leg which makes a difference and gives the team a boost.

    3.The new rule that if players have played for an international teams age group team (for example:Michael McGlinchey,scotland) can be eligible for another international teams (NZ) senior side if they are somehow connected to that country.

  2. Anthony says:

    Great article. Good to see the salient writing about something worthwhile (people don’t care about the VUSA elections)

    Yeah New Zealand, have it rather easy. But hey, ill take it. It is making up for the 1982 All White World cup campaign. Which i think was the longest and hardest ever or something like that.

    Will be a big disappointment. if the stadium does not sell out.

    GO THE ALL WHITES.

  3. lewis says:

    Brilliant article nice to see something instead of rugby for a change an as for having it rather easy ill agree it is easier than having to play 5th place south american side but austrailia have got it easier now being in asia an nz had one of the hardest quailfications in world cup history in 82 so you could say its karma also i hope if we get through put into group stage with aus that would be amazing Go The AllWhites!

  4. Abdul Jabbar says:

    You talk as if NZ will take Bahraini easily. I think Bahrain is nowadays so strong and will never be easy to defeat. NZ would need much of luck to go through which I think will never happen.

  5. Harry Barracuda says:

    I live in Bahrain, and I have to echo the sentiments of my Bahraini friends on here. If NZ think this is going to be a pushover, they should think again. You can ignore FIFA rankings, they’re a pile of shyte, but nonetheless Bahrain knocked out Saudi Arabia to get this far, and they are a decent team, coming from a population of 30 million who are football mad. This tie could definitely go either way.

    I would say for sure that the Bahrainis have far more experience, and they’ve had to battle through a lot of games against the best in Asia to get this far, which is very much in their favour.

    The author is correct in that qualifying for a World Cup is a massive boost, but for tiny little Bahrain it would be an outrageous accomplishment, and their first time, too, so they will be fired up.

  6. Laura McQuillan says:

    Can teams use caps lock on the field? If not, Bahrain will totes lose

  7. Steve says:

    Kanye West, everybody

  8. t says:

    Bahrain have done well to get to this playoff for the second time in 4 years. We deserved a place in Germany but were cruelly denied when an awesome goal was disallowed in Bahrain against T&T. They look hungrier now, and for many of the ageing players this is their last chance to live their dreams and whatnot. They are hungry. Very, very hungry. Most NZ media is playing up the fact that the All Whites defeated Jordan in a friendly. While it’s a nice little confidence builder, Jordan is ranked 122 in the world, and quite frankly, are rather listless. Should be an interesting couple of games.

  9. Abdul Jabbar says:

    Well NZ seem to be happy to have beaten Jordan. Let me tell u that playing Jordan is never like playing Bahrain. Jordan were beaten 4-0 by Bahrain. Try playing Oman instead, it might be a better test. Oman would beat the hell of you NZ.

  10. Adam Howard says:

    Are you Bahrain fans assuming that I think NZ will win the qualifier? I don’t think I implied that at any point in this article.

    The point of the piece is simply that IF New Zealand beat Bahrain, it would be massive for football in this country – as it doubtless would be for Bahrain too.

    I know as well as anyone that Bahrain are the favourites going into this match, they are a far better side than Jordan and it will take a huge performance from NZ to beat them.

    However, the great thing about sport is that anything can happen and the favourites tag means nothing (ask the All Blacks about their last World Cup campaign). So all you Bahrainis are welcome to be as confident as you like, but we’ll be cheering the All Whites on and it won’t be easy for you.

  11. Hank Scorpio says:

    I don’t think Bahrain is a real country tbh

  12. Jemima says:

    I looked it up on Yahoo! Answers and no one could tell me if it was real.

  13. Hank Scorpio says:

    No, seriously, does Bahrain even exist? I’m pretty sure it’s something FIFA made up just to give us something to do in November.

  14. Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah says:

    I think Bahrain’s got a pretty good chance, eh.

  15. Jemima says:

    I bet you three camels NZ wins. You can’t lose against fictional wonderlands.

  16. Hank Scorpio says:

    More like Bore-rain am I right

    All Whites win 12-0 because the opposition are having a snooze

  17. Footy Rap says:

    I play football and I run with the backs
    Run hard, run back, then I’ll give you a crack
    I’m a winner ‘cos I’m hard, watcha me go
    When I run through the ruck I’m like a mack truck
    So move, yeah, get out the way
    I’ll run through you, I’ll score six tries a day
    The whole sportin’ arm says I’m the player of the day
    First grade here I come, gonna get some pay

    stick it stick it go hard
    stick it stick it go hard
    stick it stick it go hard
    stick it stick it go hard

    Inspiration to my core root players
    Go Greg Inglis and Justin Hodges
    I’m like them ‘cos I can dodge yas
    You don’t wanna step up ‘cos my team will flog yas
    I’ll hammer yah, I’ve got stamnia
    I’ll still hammer ya, I’m gonna hammer ya
    So move, yeah, get out the way
    I’ll run through you, I’ll score six tries a day

    stick it stick it go hard
    stick it stick it go hard
    stick it stick it go hard
    stick it stick it go hard

  18. MattG says:

    No Bahrain supporters have posted here. Obvious troll is obvious.

  19. I thought so too, Matt, but their IP addresses suggest otherwise.

    If you google “New Zealand vs Bahrain” or vice versa, this is one of the first results.

  20. loll footy rap

    Hank Scorpio is absurd.

  21. Charlie says:

    I am Australian. I think Bahrain will make it. NZ isn’t good enough to beat Bahrain. We have to admitt and say that Bahrain deserves the win.

  22. Saddam Hussain says:

    You New Zealanders wait for the bahraini rockets. They will destroy the webs of your goals. hahahahahahahah

  23. Hank Scorpio says:

    Hey Oliver, way to… type.

    dunked

  24. Abbey says:

    bahrain is a real country u close minded idiots. and what moron checks yahoo answers to check if its a real country. y dont u jst google it in like the CIA factbook.

  25. Hank Scorpio says:

    more like abbey road cos you’re next to the gutter ahahaha owned

  26. Invisible says:

    I think Bahrain will go to South Africa 2010 next year..
    Bahrain defeated South Korea in Asia Cup 2007. They also defeated Japan twice in Asia Cup Qualification and World Cup Qualification.
    Also Bahrain played well against Australia in World Cup Qualification, but unfortunately Bahrain were unlucky to win that game.
    On the other hand, New Zealand is lossing against weak teams such as Thailand, Fiji, and etc…

  27. The Physical Mass of Land Known as Bahrain says:

    no i’m not i’m staying right next to saudi arabia

  28. Chicago * says:

    woo !! can’t wait nov 14.. wen bahrain chokes new zealand . New zealanders think beating jordan is a big accomplishment . Well take a look at bahrain who actually now have come up to the level of s.korea , japan , iran … BAHRAIN IS GOIN TO CHOKE new zealand

  29. Steve says:

    with their donkey cocks

  30. smackdown says:

    do they even have planes in bahrain better start driving now guys don’t wanna be late

  31. Sir Pete of Christchurch says:

    Although Bahrain have played heaps more games over the last year than the All Whites (24 since August 2008 compared to NZ’s measly 11), we have more players who have played at a higher level of club football than the Bahrainis.
    Three of our lads have played in the English Premier League (Nelsen, Elliott and Wood), Ivan Vicelich has played hundreds of games in the Dutch First Division, Killen and McGlinchey have played for Celtic in the Scottish Premier League, whilst Fallon and Mulligan have played in the second tier of English football in the Championship, and other players in the lower English leagues and Major League Soccer with Beckham in the States, or the A-League in Australia.
    Only three of the Bahrain team play club football outside the Arabian Gulf- i.e. their three Nigerian ring-ins (one in Belgium and two in Switzerland- and not for the bigger teams in those countries either). The rest of their squad play around the Gulf and I get the impression the leagues in the Arabian Gulf are not all that strong- probably weaker than the A-League anyway. (They have the money to attract a few former stars looking to boost their retirement funds).
    So, all in all, should be close come October and November- there’s no certainty who will triumph at all.
    But I’m picking our team, battle-hardened in tough British and European leagues, to go through.

  32. Invisible says:

    ^^^^
    NO..
    Most of Australian players plays in English Premier League and other Europe League, but though Iraq defeated Australia twice last year with their Arabian Gulf League players :)

  33. shamlol says:

    in world cup 2006 bahrain have lost the chance but i think that time we will never lose again we must recpeict newzealand becacuse they have draw with iraq so they are avery hard team but if we play is we play against ustralia and ksa i think its not posseble to qualifiy and i said again newzeland is avery taf and hard team and we recpict them

  34. Brett Dale says:

    Great article, totally agree, this is going to be a massive game and the result will mean more to Football in this country than you can possibly imagine

  35. Ciqo says:

    Hey there fellow mates from NZ…just to warn you, do not get too carried away thinking this is an easy match…to be honest Bahrain is far more experienced than you, and cannot be under estimated just because of its size. Bahrain were strong favorites to win the 2004 Asian cup and lost the semi finals to Japan in the very last minute….and had placed one foot in the 2006 world cup in Germany by managing a draw in the away leg of the final play offs only to lose by one goal in their home ground. Yet again, my respect to NZ and I believe it could go either way. I just wanted to point out that Bahrain is a strong side.

  36. Bahraini FootBall says:

    well I think if our team play very well and focus in the game we will 100%.. I saw NZ playing in South Africa and there r weak no offence NZ fans..
    I hope we watch greate match and my team will win…

    GOODLUCK BAHRAIN….

  37. VivaBa7rain says:

    For those of you who are making fun of Bahrain and asking whether it exists or not…here’s a clip for you:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnWk5w6wTTg

    Never doubt Bahrain’s ability…we may be small but size doesn’t mean anything..
    anyone good luck to you NZ..i’m sure it will be a great game

  38. Bahraini says:

    Hey guys, I bet Bahrain will make it through very easy, why? Simply because we do not play very well at home and the 2nd leg will be there at NZ.
    If you want compare sizes then compare us to CHINA (zillions times bigger than Bahrain in both population and size) and we easily beat them in 2004 Asia Cup. It wont be easy but we should make it through and make your selves busy with the Rugby whatever cup!

  39. Tassie Soccer Coach says:

    I saw the Socceroos play Bahrain twice in WCQ. In Bahrain the home side were superior and it was an injustice that we grabbed a winner in injury time. In Australia Bahrain were nowhere near as strong. I tip Bahrain to go through but they’ll need to take a lead to NZ and then they can hang on. NZ have an outside chance but the first match in Bahrain is going to be crucial.

  40. Shihab says:

    I came from Oman to do Aviation Studies here in Motueka. I believe kiwis are one of the most respectable, nice people I’ve ever met. Yet, it’s a shame to read posts like some shown above.. doubting the country Bahrain and saying bad words.
    That’s not how you scare the opponent. Play bravely and win a neat game, or go talk to your neighbor hood girls and play cards with them.
    Bahrain will play like no ones business, certainly i know this, cause it’s their first time ever to qualify for the finals.
    I brought a flag of my country, pretty big one. And I’ll be their waving it proudly.
    Best wishes for both team, even though I will support Bahrain.

  41. Horza says:

    Chipping in to say:

    Nice article Adam, and if you guys make it I hope it is massive for the game over the other side of the Tasman.

    That said, I can only echo the others – you lot really have your work cut out in Manama. The traditional strengths of Gulf sides are pace and organisation and Bahrain have that in spades, but unlike a lot of Gulf sides they are a physical team and their strikers might not be playing in Europe but they are no pushovers.

    The Jordan match will have helped a little with acclimatisation but the they have had a barnstorming qualification run – as well as scaring the shit out of us they monstered Japan and they will have the belief after coming back to finish KSA in injury time. This is going to be in sharp contrast to the All Whites – despite your prep you’re going to suffer from OFC syndrome.

    Heart says NZ,
    Head says Bahrain.

  42. Proud Bahraini says:

    Hey mates..
    Thank you Adam for such a nice article..

    Thank you all for your comments, this shall give us about how our opponents think!! For those who are doubting the existance of Bahrain. Yeah, Bahrain is a very tiny island and not as rich as sistering countires of the Gulf, however it has a great demanding and educated people.

    I will not discuss whether Bahrain has a strong team or not! but ill tell you that the team is very demanding and more than any time! the team has lost on the play off to Trindad and Tobago 1-0 after drawing 1-1 in T&T for the 2006 world cup. Though, they played a good match, they were unfortunate to loose the match just before 30 minutes of the end.

    Anyway Jemima, you seem to be using an off line puter, otherwise, you will be to see more of Bahrain on your web search. Bahrain is very well known around the world cause it has the first Middle East Formula 1 Circuit. So, any simple sports person would have heard about it.

    Finally, if anyone and specially the Kiwis that dont know Bahrain, please check this clip on the youtube and enjoy the Ausies commentator.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1nMBPPum-M&feature=related

    Good luck to both teams!

  43. mubarak says:

    bahrain team is very weak .You will beat them easily.

  44. mesud salih says:

    im from iraq and i live in new zealand .i fully support nz .and i will be there defenitly to wave nz flag in the stadyum .for me i think bahrain to win this game they need sand field .but unfortunitly here in nz we dont have desert and sand .so they will run like desprite CAMELS ..go all WHITES .with all our support .

  45. The FIFA World Cup is 5 times bigger than the Olympics says:

    Adam,you need to understand what the rest of the globe already knows-that THE one and only World Cup with 206 member nations is and has been for a long time THE biggest event in the World. by a long way.The media in Australia are finally,begrudgingly admitting this.
    Qualification for New Zealand would open so many doors as we’re seeing in Australia.When the foreign minister travels abroad all he gets asked about are the Socceroos.
    In 2006 ,over 100,000 Aussies went to Germany,many thousands missed out on tickets,2 million foreigners in total went.How many would go for an Olympics-a few thousand max.
    To build better ties with the rest of the World you need to talk the universal language-football.
    Rugby is a great spectacle,just as Aussie Rules is but they are so insignificant on the world stage
    I really hope the Kiwi’s get to enjoy something similar to Australia v Uruguay on November 16,2005.It smashed all ratings records for TV here and changed us forever
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhM1t0XyB08

  46. chalks says:

    while new zealand are the underdogs there are a few things people have to remember

    1. australia were massive underdogs going up against uruguay and we were even 1 nil down after the first leg but in true aussie style we scored in the home leg then we took it out in a shoot out…if nz can draw or only lose by 1 in the opener they have a good shot at winning the home leg.

    2.while new zealand did lose to fiji they didnt field the A team “stupid idea” bahrain havnt been inconsistent form. one game there on fire and really putting sides to the sword others they make silly mistakes and just generally underperform. if there red hot side turn up nz are in deep shyt but if they get them on a off day and nz have a cracker things will be interesting

    3.they could chook, i know this goes both ways but if its all locked up thats when the cracks show while its just as likely it could happen to nz being that nz are the underdogs its more exceptable

    4.going off australias matches with nz and aus with bahrain i would say bahrain are better but easily beatable for a side like nz, bahrain arnt really in australias league ether is nz,but they are in each others.

    5. look on the up side in the past nz would be playing us about now and we would normally make light work of it. now your playing a team that isnt even as good as the socceroos and its of direct entry where as in the past if you even managed to beat us you would have a even better side waiting for you.

    6.if nz do win expect massive and i mean MASSIVE changes within a short time. it hasnt even been 4 years and soccer in australia has gone for a mild interest we have every 4 years to THE ROAD TRIP THAT IS THE WORLD CUP in the past if we won that was the best we could ask for now are coach was given shyt for not winning well, i shyt you not we expect so much from the side now that even a bad win gets the coach and sometimes players some bad press. oh and 4 years ago soccer couldnt manage a article in the sports section now it gets just as much press as most other sports and if its a international “even a friendly” it will get atleast 3-5 full pages of coverage. oh and biggest of all now were bigging for the world cup the government is fliping the bill to get stadiums upgraded and some build from scrach. if you told me that 4 years ago i would have pmsl at you then call you bat shyt crazy

  47. Bahrian !!! says:

    Bahrain will win, its obvious …. WTF is newzealand ? All i know is that its an australian island filled with cows and sheep !!!!!!!

    Good luck Bahrain !!!!!

  48. Ryan says:

    God there are some Trolls here.

    Bahrain is clearly a superior team, however now is our best chance to do anything, our players are all in top form. I can imagine that Bahrain will win the first game and NZ will be more competitive in the second. Completely different climates, I can’t imagine NZ would be able to play for the full game in 30+ degrees, and its a long flight for Bahrain who are unaccustomed to travel.

    People in NZ are excited because it’s the best chance we have had in years.

  49. smackdown says:

    soccer shocker

  50. Come on the All Whites! If you are in Australia and want to watch this game then check out http://footballonaustraliantv.com/ both legs of the tie will be broadcast on Setanta Sports http://www.setanta.com/au/octoberworldcupqualifiers/

  51. chalks says:

    thanx john, if anyone knows where to listen on radio that would be a help for me as i may still be at work

  52. sean edwards says:

    what time is the game on?

  53. Adam Howard says:

    4.30am NZ time on Sunday morning.

  54. Faisal M says:

    the game is 3.30 GMT ; BAHRAIN TO SOUTH AFRICA! :D

  55. Kimi says:

    I agree!
    Qualifiying for the Fifa World Cup is in itself a bigger thing than the Rugby World Cup!

    Hope NZ can pull it off!

  56. Marc says:

    As an aussie, I stumbled across this article while searching for info on the upcoming qualification game. Good luck NZ, believe it or not but I think most aussies are hoping you guys get through. What a great thing for football in this part of the world if both Australia and NZ made the world cup! Could you imagine how exciting for cross-tasman rivalries if we ended up in the same group in South Africa! Bring it!

  57. Marcus says:

    already got tickets to the game in nov 14, in the white noise zone. i haven’t been this excited about a game of football before! ITS GOING TO BE EPIC!

  58. chalks says:

    omg i was trying to look for even radio coverage of the game and there was nothing the one place that remotely covered it was “sports radio” and it was b.s the guy must have brought it up 3 times total for updates. and the guy had no idea someone asked him what happens if nz lose and he said i guess they will be out only for his producer to have to spoon feed the guy how the home and away legs work and even when he finish repeating what the producer was trying to tell him he still didnt say have it right

    look i thought the disinterest in soccer/football in australia was bad pre-2006 but now i can see why you guys could never beat us if someone that ment to be in sports radio has no idea then you cant really expect the general public to care

    i hope with the result yesterday the people covering the game next month have a better idea and actually put in a effort because from what i listened to i dont really want nz to win now cause the world cup is a big deal and i would rather a team like bahrain get in that will go crazy then nz’s “isnt that nice we made it, now lets watch rugby” additude

    if you wanna see what im talking about watch the australia uruguay shoot out. if you dont get a reaction like that i wouldnt bother sending them to south africa

  59. Ed says:

    Does anybody know how to buy tickets?

  60. Hank Scorpio says:

    hey it’s bahraining goals as the all whites walk into the world cup after bahrain struggle to come to grips with conditions that arent a million degrees

  61. Kimi says:

    I was going to add, that I didnt hear much about the game, previous to it and afterwards in New Zealand Media.
    Not much on the National News, nothing on radio.
    The internet… nothing much.

    Its obvious how New Zealand Media is trying to downplay Soccer in this country. Not even the Wellington Phoenix games are shown on Tv, even though they attract a fair amount of spectators.

    More KiwiKids are playing Soccer than Rugby, when David Beckham visited with the LA Galaxy, they attracted a huge crowd both times.

    The U17 Womens World Cup, a couple of months ago, saw an average crowd of 5000 people. And thats watching 16, 17 year old girls kicking a soccer ball. When the Soccerferns played, they set an all time spectator record for a womens sport event in New Zealand.

    Fact is, Soccer is more popular here than people may think.

    New Zealand Media and News (which are rather unprofessional anyway, judging by their coverage of international events) is trying to keep it low however.

    Poor and Pitiful.

  62. Ryan says:

    The Dom post has had a fair bit of coverage. The phoenix games are aired on Sky.

  63. Ryan says:

    Hey Ed,

    Ticketek has the tickets.

  64. samiry says:

    bahrain will qualify to the 2010 world cup ..cuz they play good in bahrain new zealand team is very week they cant even catch a ball that can be dangerous for bahrain..i dont support bahrain or new zealan im turkish football fan but i say what i can see on my eye good luck both teams

  65. xp says:

    it will be 0:0 again. who is going to win the penalty shoot. I have no idea. what i am sure is that both team will not get through 2nd round in South Africa.
    —————————- 凸- –

  66. Bulgaria says:

    I am from Bulgaria but I love New Zealand and I hope they qualify!!!!!!!!1

  67. ymaf says:

    Even here, in the country devoleped modern football there is some news about this game. I hope that the All Whites are going to win. But I think the All Whites has a advantage to play at home. Lets meet in South Africa!!

  68. ChecoMex says:

    Hey guys! I from Mexico, and I can tell you that people in my country that loves football are also waiting for this game.
    Bahrain is a dangerous team, but if Trinidad and Tobago could won last WCup qualification round against them, you also can win this one.
    Good Luck, and I hope to see this game!
    See you at the World Cup!
    Ps: All Blacks rules!
    Ps2: Who is “Retro Ricki”?

  69. Conaldinho says:

    Im Aussie.. Flight of the Conchords! Go NZ! It would be special to see NZ and AUS in the World Cup! Amazing… And possibly in the same group… Amazing.

  70. Michael Oliver says:

    Rory flicked me an email yesterday to say the top three searches leading to the Salient website at the moment are “New Zealand vs Bahrain” “Bahrain vs New Zealand” and “nz vs bahrain”

    Kia ora, Adam Howard, internet sensation in Bahrain, kia ora.

  71. NorthMelburnian says:

    Good luck to the All Whites!

    As Conaldinho said, it would be awesome if your guys can make it too, but I don’t want to see us in the same group.
    Would rather both of us be playing teams that the rest of the world will be watching (they’re not going to be interested in NZ vs AU)

  72. andry Klarson says:

    when? what time and where will be the game?

  73. Harry Barracuda says:

    Although Bahrain dominated the first leg and deserved to take a lead to Wellington, the Kiwis will be crapping themselves at home about letting in an away goal.

    It’s very much up for grabs, and if Bahrain can get a result in Saudi Arabia, then they can get a result in Wellington.

  74. Kiwi Rob says:

    New Zealand just have to win at home now .. forget a penalty shootout another 4 years is too long too wait .. just play to win … and with that attitude I think they will

  75. Steve says:

    Did I read that right? Game time is 4.30 am NZ time? Just trying to figure it out as I live in England

  76. Dane says:

    The FIFA world cup IS the biggest sporting event of the world, with a bigger audience than the olympics, with 2006 world cup garnering an estimated 26.29 billion non-unique viewers, compiled over the course of the tournament. The final attracted an estimated audience of 715.1 million people. The 2006 World Cup ranks fourth in non-unique viewers, behind the 1994, the 2002, and the 1990 FIFA World Cups. Forget about the Olympics…
    If New Zealand make it that would be so so good for Football over there… Would be very interesting should you group in with Australia… let the rivalry continue huh? I’m picking an Australia NZ final though… You heard it first here…

  77. Al Gangbang says:

    I FUCKING LOVE FOOTBALL!

  78. Bob Matt says:

    All Whites? What a racist name for an International Team!!!

  79. smackdown says:

    ba ba ba ba ba bahrain
    ba ba ba ba ba bahrain

  80. Jackson Wood says:

    Commenting has been turned off on this post and many comments deleted because of racism and general fucking stupidity. Apologies to the many people who were not being racist etc it was just easier to delete a swathe of comments than read every single one.

    If you want to be racist please start your own blog.

    JJW – Editor

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This Ain’t a Scene it’s a Goddamned Arm Wrestle

: Interior – Industrial Soviet Beerhall – Night It was late November and cold as hell when I stumbled into the Zhiguli Beer Hall. I was in Moscow, about to take the trans-Mongolian rail line to Beijing, and after finding someone in my hostel who could speak English, had decided