Story: Football

New Zealand plays Australia, 1981

New Zealand plays Australia, 1981

In 1981 and early 1982 New Zealand played 15 games on their way to qualifying for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. The journey began with this game against Australia at Mt Smart, Auckland, on Anzac Day in 1981. Here, the Australian goalkeeper catches a cross as Ricki Herbert attempts to head the ball. The two teams drew 3–3. In the return match, New Zealand beat Australia 2–0 in Sydney. Five wins and a draw against the other teams in the group – Taiwan, Fiji and Indonesia – ensured that New Zealand qualified for the second round. In that round they ended equal on points with China and had to beat them in a sudden-death game to qualify. They did so in Singapore in January 1982, winning 2–1. In the match shown here, New Zealand played with white shirts and black shorts, but subsequently they wore white shorts and came to be known as the 'All Whites' in reference to the New Zealand rugby team the All Blacks. 

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Reference: 250481
Photograph by Anthony Phelps

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How to cite this page:

Neill Atkinson and Steve Watters, 'Football - Men’s international football', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/40927/new-zealand-plays-australia-1981 (accessed 17 September 2019)

Story by Neill Atkinson and Steve Watters, published 5 Sep 2013, reviewed & revised 15 Jul 2016, updated 15 Sep 2016