Shane Smeltz, right, will have to be at his best if New Zealand is to make it out of the first round at the Confederations Cup. ((Marty Melville/Getty Images))


June 14 - 2:30 PM ET  <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/new-zealand.jpg" alt="New Zealand"/>[/CUSTOM] NEW ZEALAND vs. <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/spain.jpg" alt="Spain"/>[/CUSTOM] SPAIN Game Report | Full Game Video | Video Highlights | Game Tracker
Venue: Rustenburg  - Final Result: Spain wins 5-0
June 17 - 2:30 PM ET  <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/new-zealand.jpg" alt="New Zealand"/>[/CUSTOM] NEW ZEALAND vs. <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/sth-africa.jpg" alt="South Africa"/>[/CUSTOM] SOUTH AFRICA Game Report | Full Game Video  | Video Highlights  | Game Tracker   
Venue: Rustenburg - Final result: South Africa wins 2-0        
June 20 - 2:30 PM ET  <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/new-zealand.jpg" alt="New Zealand"/>[/CUSTOM] NEW ZEALAND vs. <img src="/sports/soccer/FIFAconfederationscup/includes/imgs/flags/sml/iraq.jpg" alt="Iraq"/>[/CUSTOM] IRAQ Game Report | Full Game Video | Video Highlights  | Game Tracker      
Venue: Johannesburg - Final result: 0-0 draw                          


Goalkeepers: James Bannatyne (Team Wellington), Glen Moss (Melbourne Victory, Australia), Mark Paston (Wellington Phoenix)

Defenders: Andrew Boyens (New York Red Bulls, MLS), Tony Lochhead (Wellington Phoenix), David Mulligan (Wellington Phoenix), Steven Old (Kilmarnock, Scotland), Aaron Scott (Waitakere United), Ben Sigmund (Wellington Phoenix), Ivan Vicelich (Auckland City FC)

Midfielders: Andy Barron (Team Wellington), Leo Bertos (Wellington Phoenix), Tim Brown (Wellington Phoenix), Jeremy Christie (Wellington Phoenix), Simon Elliott (San Jose Earthquakes, MLS), Chris James (Tampere United, Finland), Duncan Oughton (Columbus Crew, MLS)

Forwards: Kris Bright (Panserraikos, Greece), Jeremy Brockie (North Queensland Fury, Australia), Chris Killen (Celtic, Scotland), Shane Smeltz (Gold Coast United, Australia), Jarrod Smith (Seattle Sounders, MLS), Chris Wood (West Bromwich Albion, England)

Coach: Ricki Herbert


Probable starting formation: (GK) Paston — (D) Mulligan, Lochhead, Old, Sigmund — (M) Elliott, Oughton, Brown, James — (F) Smeltz, Killen


  • Confidence: The All Whites enter the tournament with a great deal of confidence, having already won the Oceania World Cup qualifying zone. Coach Ricki Herbert has revitalized the All Whites since taking over the reins in 2005, including a steady climb up the FIFA world rankings and taking the team to the verge of World Cup qualification.
  • Smeltz-Killen partnership: Forwards Chris Killen and Shane Smeltz give the All Whites a lethal one-two scoring punch, having combined for over 25 goals for the national team. Smeltz is the reigning two-time Oceania player of the year, and was the top scorer in the Australian A-League this past season, while Killen has experience from playing with pro clubs in England and Scotland.
  • World Cup motivation: In October, New Zealand will play a two-game playoff against the fifth-placed team from the Asian qualifying zone for the right to advance to next year's World Cup in South Africa. A strong show at the Confederations Cup will allow the All Whites to build some team chemistry and give players a boost ahead of that crucial showdown with the Asian qualifier.


  • Defence: The All Whites suffered a major setback when captain Ryan Nelsen tore his calf muscle, ruling him out of the tournament. Ben Sigmund is still recovering after undergoing hip surgery, which means Andy Boyens and Steven Old are the team's only healthy central defenders. Things are so bad at the back that Hebert was forced to call Ivan Vicelich out of international retirement.
  • Overall depth: The simple truth is that New Zealand lacks world-class players who make their living in the world's top leagues — instead, the majority of the squad plays in the Australian A-League. Coach Herbert will be hard-pressed to field a first-team that can be competitive.
  • History: New Zealand's track record in FIFA competitions leaves a lot to be desired. The All Whites crashed out of the 1999 and 2003 Confederations Cup in the first round (losing all six games and being outscored 17-2) and last qualified for the World Cup in 1982 (when they went home after three straight losses).

Players to watch

  • Simon Elliott – A veteran of the national team, Elliott provides the All Whites with leadership, winning praise for his tough-tackling style. Although a defensive midfielder, the San Jose Earthquakes star can score – he has six goals in 51 appearances for New Zealand.
  • Shane Smeltz – Easily New Zealand's most dangerous player, the star striker is a goal-machine (he scored eight times in the All Whites' recent World Cup qualifying campaign) and has established himself as one of the best players in the emerging Australian A-League.
  • Chris Wood – The 17-year-old striker recently signed a two-year extension with West Brom after making his debut for the English club, underlying his potential for the future. The young Kiwi could be one of the breakout stars of the Confederations Cup.

Key injuries/squad omissions: The loss of captain Ryan Nelsen is a crippling blow for the All Whites. The Blackburn centre-back provides New Zealand with stability at the back and veteran leadership.


2009 Confederations Cup qualification route: New Zealand booked its spot in South Africa by winning the 2008 Oceania Nations Cup.


  • FIFA member since: 1948
  • Current FIFA ranking: #82
  • Team nickname: The All Whites
  • All-time caps leaders: Vaughan Coveny (64)
  • All-time leading scorer: Vaughan Coveny (28)
  • Number of Previous Confederations Cup Appearances: 2
  • All-time record: 6 games played, 0 wins, 0 draws, 6 losses
  • Goals for: 2
  • Goals against: 17
  • Top scorer: Raf de Gregorio, Chris Zoricich (1 goal each)
  • Most appearances: Ryan Nelsen, Vaughan Coveny (6 caps each)

Confederations Cup History:

  • 1992 — did not qualify
  • 1995 — did not qualify
  • 1997 — did not qualify
  • 1999 — first round
  • 2001 — did not qualify
  • 2003 — first round
  • 2005 — did not qualify


  • Oceania Champions: 1973, 1998, 2002, 2008

Legends from the past

Steve Sumner: Born in England, Sumner was an expatriate who was captain of the New Zealand team that qualified for the World Cup in 1982. He was the first player from the Oceania zone to score in World Cup competition.

Vaughan Coveny: New Zealand's all-time leading scorer and caps leader, Coveny played in two Confederations Cups before retiring from the national team in 2006.