FIFA Confederations Cup history
Russia 2017 will be New Zealand’s fourth appearance at the FIFA Confederations Cup. New Zealand’s results have been modest at best, with the All Whites collecting just one draw and two goals in their nine previous matches. Despite that, they have provided tests for strong opposition at times in this elite competition. The first edition saw New Zealand edged 2-1 by USA at Mexico 1999, with that scoreline followed by gallant 2-0 defeats against the FIFA World Cup’s™ most successful nations – Germany and Brazil. Four years later in France, New Zealand suffered heavy defeats against Japan and the hosts, though wedged either side was a 3-1 loss against Colombia with the Kiwis ahead of their South American opponents at half-time. South Africa 2009 saw New Zealand begin with a 5-0 loss following a disastrous opening half-hour against Spain. There followed a 2-0 loss to the home nation, before their one and only point in the competition arrived in the shape of a scoreless draw against Iraq.
The road to Russia 2017
New Zealand won their way to Russia 2017 by claiming the OFC Nations Cup for the fifth time. The All Whites secured the eight-nation tournament, held in Papua New Guinea for the first time, during May-June 2016. The New Zealanders impressed in the group stage winning all three matches. However, a side weakened by injuries, suspensions and absentees, struggled in the knockout stage. They saw off New Caledonia 1-0 in the semi-final – earning a dose of revenge for defeat at the same stage four years earlier – and eventually prevailed in the decider against the host nation 4-2 on penalties following 120 scoreless minutes.
Anthony Hudson was a left-field selection for the New Zealand coaching role when he assumed the reins in mid-2014, following on from the nine-year tenure of Ricki Herbert. The young Englishman, whose father is 1970s’ Chelsea and England midfielder Alan Hudson, had previously enjoyed only very brief experience at senior international level as head coach of Bahrain. Hudson immediately set about a process of squad regeneration, meaning very few mainstays of the Herbert era remained. As a result it was a highly inexperienced side which took to the field at Papua New Guinea 2016, with Hudson’s cause not helped by the national team’s limited match schedule of just six matches over the preceding two-year period.
Stefan Marinovic, Winston Reid, Kosta Barbarouses, Chris Wood
1 – New Zealand conceded just one goal across the five matches of their 2016 OFC Nations Cup campaign, with that lone strike coming from the penalty spot.