New Zealand football has never had it so good with three of their national sides qualifying for FIFA World Cups this year. The Senior Women, the Men's U-20 side and the Men's U-17 team will all compete on the world stage this year.

Australia's move from the Oceania Football Confederation to the Asian Football Confederation has led to unprecedented opportunities for New Zealand national sides.

Previously New Zealand has competed in the 1982 FIFA World Cup TM in Spain, the 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup in China, the FIFA U-16 World Cup in Egypt in 1997, the FIFA U-17 World Cup in New Zealand in 1999 and last year's FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Russia.

Qualifying
New Zealand enjoyed a 100 per cent record at the Oceania FIFA U-17 World Cup qualifying tournament in Tahiti in March with three wins from three games enough to book their place in the Korea Republic.

The Junior All Whites opened the tournament with a 3-1 win over Fiji, with goals from Cory Chettleburgh, Costa Barbarouses and Jake Matthews.

A 2-1 win over the hosts Tahiti on Match Day 2 of the tournament confirmed New Zealand's World Cup finals berth with none of the other sides in the tournament managing a win in the opening two games.

Japan-based Kiwi striker Mario Hoffman opened the scoring for New Zealand against Tahiti after just five minutes, sidefooting home from close range after a good run down the right by Jacob Matthews.

Tahiti were back on level terms midway through the half, when a Stephane Faatiarau shot from long range eluded Michael O'Keefe in the New Zealand goal.

Costa Barbarouses fired the New Zealanders into the lead after 61 minutes, with a superb looping header over the keeper from a Fraser Colson cross and Colin Tuaa's side hung on for the win.

With qualification secured, New Zealand finished the tournament in style with a 4-0 win over New Caledonia in the final game with goals from Costa Barbarouses (3) and Jake Matthews.

Coach
Colin Tuaa played over 400 first class games in New Zealand scoring 150 league and cup goals. The striker earned ten caps for the New Zealand national side and scored one goal for his country.

He began his coaching career as a player-coach with New Zealand league side Nelson United in 1994 and since then he has coached Nelson Suburbs and Manawatu in the national league.

Tuaa was assistant coach with the New Zealand U-20s in 2002 and assisted All Whites manager Ricki Herbert coaching the New Zealand Knights in Australia's Hyundai A-League in 2006/07.

Tuaa was appointed manger of the New Zealand U-17s in 2005.

Star Player
Costa Barbarouses finished as the leading scorer at the Oceania FIFA U-17 World Cup qualifying tournament with five goals, including a hat-trick in the 4-0 win over New Caledonia.

The pacy, unpredictable striker, currently plying his trade with Team Wellington in the NZFC, New Zealand's domestic league, looks destined to play at a much higher level

Record

  • New Zealand has been involved in just one previous FIFA U-17 World Cup when they hosted the tournament in 1999. A 2-1 loss against the USA in the opening game of the tournament was followed by a 5-0 defeat against Uruguay. However New Zealand restored their pride in the final group game with a 2-1 win over Poland.

Quote
"The Oceania qualifying tournament in Tahiti was a tough, challenging experience for our players. The heat and conditions were not easy for our side but the boys showed a lot of character. We knew the team had good technique and plenty of ability but we learnt a lot about the character of our side in Tahiti." (New Zealand coach Colin Tuaa)