New Zealand

The past
New Zealand are fast gaining respect in the world of women’s football and the relative success of their youth teams on the world stage ia a positive sign for the future. New Zealand successfully hosted the inaugural edition of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup two years ago, unveiling a number of young stars in the process. While the Young Football Ferns were eliminated at the group stage New Zealand did claim their first ever victory in a FIFA women's competition, with a 3-1 win against Colombia.

The present
All bar one of the current squad made their international debut in April’s qualifying campaign, though many have played in the New Zealand national league. Katie Bowen was the only player to feature at New Zealand 2008, while a number of the squad will still be young enough for the next campaign in two years time. The Young Football Ferns swamped their opposition in Oceania qualifying, winning all three matches handsomely.

The future
Coach Dave Edmondson recognises that the team are inexperienced on the international stage and that they will need significant preparation for Trinidad & Tobago 2010. “When you hear those names (of the qualified teams) you know there is some tough opposition there and a lot of hard work now for those girls to go there and compete well. We were really fit coming into the qualifiers but we’ve got to maintain that and seek out tough matches for ourselves against overseas opposition and local teams both.”

Facts and figures

Key players
Kate Loye, Hannah Wong, Brittany Dudley-Smith

Former stars
Rosie White, Hannah Wall, Annalie Longo

Qualifying statistics
New Zealand qualified with comprehensive wins against Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Tonga without conceding a goal.

The numbers game
37 - The number of goals the Young Football Ferns scored in their three qualifying matches.