FIFA U-17 World Cup record
New Zealand have developed a solid record at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, a tournament they have also hosted. The Kiwis have featured in eight previous tournaments, reaching the Round of 16 on three occasions (2009, 2011, 2015). Brazil 2019 will mark the nation’s seventh succession appearance. New Zealand debuted at Egypt 1997 in the nation’s first FIFA competition appearance at youth level. Two years later, New Zealand played host to the tournament; the first held in Oceania, aside from those hosted by former OFC member Australia. New Zealand’s team at Nigeria 2009 etched their name into the nation’s football annals by becoming the first Kiwi team to progress to the knockout phase of a FIFA tournament with a dramatic late goal. They repeated the feat at Mexico 2011, and then again four years ago in Chile.
The road to Brazil
New Zealand endured a challenging qualifying campaign despite winning the OFC title for a seventh successive time. Missing several key personnel, they firstly crushed Vanuatu 8-0 but fell to a stunning 5-0 defeat against rampant hosts Solomon Islands. The Kiwis needed a tough 4-3 win over Papua New Guinea to stay alive. Qualification came with a 4-1 win over Tahiti, before a penalty shoot-out win saw their title retained.
Jose Figueira has enjoyed a diverse and varied career over a short period. Aged just 37, the English-born coach of Spanish heritage came to prominence outside New Zealand after leading Team Wellington at the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup. He assumed the U-17 national team reins in 2018, having also briefly done so in 2015, qualifying the team for the world stage on both occasions. Figueira is also set to be one of New Zealand’s assistant coaches for 2022 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers.
Did you know?
- Forward Oskar van Hattum is the son of New Zealand’s 1982 FIFA World Cup goalkeeper Frank van Hattum, while aunties Grazia and Marie-Jose also represented New Zealand.
- Forward Henry Hamilton was top scorer for New Zealand during qualifying with six goals.