New Zealand ace Ivan Vicelich is special guest on the latest Living Football episode
Arsenal great Arsene Wenger talks about future developments for the game
World Cup referee Pierluigi Collina discusses some of his many career highlights
New Zealand great Ivan Vicelich numbers among the star guests in episode 4 of FIFA’s new Living Football podcast, in which he is joined by legendary Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger as well as iconic former referee Pierluigi Collina.
Vicelich, a stylish and versatile central-defender, seemed to be ever-present at New Zealand’s milestone football moments over recent times. He was a key figure as New Zealand not only qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, but became the only team to remain undefeated in South Africa.
A few years later the veteran Vicelich then helped part-timers Auckland City defy the odds in stunning fashion to finish third at the FIFA Club World Cup. The Kiwis pushed South America’s San Lorenzo all the way into extra time in the semi-final. Such was Vicelich’s influence he lined up alongside Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo to be named adidas Bronze Ball winner.
“It was an incredible achievement for me, but the big thing for me was the performance of the team," Vicelich said of that tournament in Morocco. “We were an amateur team from New Zealand doing our best and we try to have the best structure we can at the club, we try to be as professionally-minded as we could.”
Vicelich also talked through just how New Zealand created history by firstly breaking a 28-year drought to qualify for the World Cup and then shine in South Africa.
“I remember standing in the tunnel of one of the games, I think it was the first game, and just … you know, you have that little moment to yourself and you’re just thinking, ‘Well, this is incredible, I’m actually in the tunnel walking out to a World Cup game’,” Vicelich said.
“The journey to get there was incredible. We’d had a tough road through Oceania and then we experienced a home and away game against Bahrain where we played an away fixture in extreme heat and then put in an incredible performance in Wellington, in a sold-out stadium with every single person in the country just probably glued to their TVs. And I don't know if you know, but football isn’t the national sport in New Zealand. We’ve got rugby and cricket, we have other sports that we’ve had so much success in, so that night in Wellington was incredible.”
The latest episode of FIFA’s new Living Football podcast also features chat with Wenger, FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, and Collina, the former World Cup referee and Chairman of FIFA’s Referees Committee.
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