All Whites' winless record against South American opposition looms large

Chris Wood and the All Whites have to get past Peru in November to make the World Cup.

Chris Wood and the All Whites have to get past Peru in November to make the World Cup.

This article was originally published in September 2017. With Peru confirmed as the All Whites' World Cup playoff opponent on Wednesday, it provides a chance to look back at New Zealand's record against South American teams.

Starting with their World Cup match against Brazil in Spain 35 years ago, the All Whites have played 14 times against South American teams.

With their qualifying win over the Solomon Islands on Tuesday, they have now booked two more in November, where a place at next year's World Cup will be at stake.

Peru will play the All Whites in November after finishing fifth in South American qualifying.

Peru will play the All Whites in November after finishing fifth in South American qualifying.

It's a daunting prospect for the All Whites who in their 14 matches so far have never won - drawing three and losing the other 11.


June 23, 1982 - 4-0 loss to Brazil
For the final game of their first World Cup campaign, the All Whites found themselves up against a Brazil team that was hoping to return to the glory days of 1970, and featured Zico, Socrates and Falcao as its stars. The favourites to claim the title, they had already advanced to the next stage by the time of this match, and they made light work of the All Whites, one of whom, the late Steve Sumner, later described it as a "magical" experience. Brazil then crashed out to eventual champions Italy in the second group stage.

Steve Sumner playing against Brazil in 1982.

Steve Sumner playing against Brazil in 1982.

June 16, 1995 - 3-1 loss to Chile
June 22, 1995 - 3-2 loss to Paraguay
June 25, 1995 - 7-0 loss to Uruguay
June 28, 1995 - 2-2 draw with Uruguay

It took 13 years for the All Whites to get another game against a team from the region, and when they did, they got four in one go, as part of Chile's centenary celebrations. The results may not look pretty now, more than two decades on, but at the time they were seen as a positive, apart from the 7-0 defeat, which the All Whites made up for three days later with a 2-2 draw. Coach Bobby Clark was pleased with how his charges performed, and that the tour had generated a lot of interest in the game back home.

February 4, 1998 - 0-0 draw with Chile
An excellent result at home by a young team. Danny Hay was the All Whites' man of the match, putting in a big shift defensively, while also producing their best chance, a header early on. It was reported that of the $45,000 bet on the result at the TAB, $44,000 had been on Chile, which shows just how small a chance the All Whites were given. The team went on to have a narrow loss to South Korea a few days later, and in September in Brisbane, they beat Australia to claim the Oceania Nations Cup, and a first trip to the Confederations Cup.

July 30, 1999 - 2-0 loss to Brazil
The glamour game for the All Whites, in their first appearance at the Confederations Cup, and one where they came away with a credible result. Brazil didn't have Ronaldo, the world's best player, and their World Cup hero the year before, among their number, and the fans at Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara in Mexico were on the Al Whites' side. A 30m attempt from Marcus Paulo put Brazil 1-0 up just before halftime, and Ronaldinho sealed the win with a 27m free kick just before the end.

Raf De Gregorio reacts after scoring against Colombia in 2003.

Raf De Gregorio reacts after scoring against Colombia in 2003.

June 20, 2003 - 3-1 loss to Colombia
The All Whites' final group game at the 2003 Confederations Cup in France, where they took a 1-0 lead, thanks to a rocket of a shot from Raf de Gregorio. But in 38 degree heat in Lyon, they wilted in the second half, as they tried to sit back and hold on to their slender advantage, and three Colombian goals - in the 58th, 75th and 85th minutes - did them in.

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April 25, 2006 - 4-1 loss to Chile
April 27, 2006 - 1-0 loss to Chile

A pair of away games, against a Chile team that had missed out on qualification for the 2006 World Cup. The All Whites' starting XIs featured several players who would go on to play big parts in the 2010 World Cup run - Tony Lochhead, Tim Brown, Shane Smeltz, Leo Bertos - but also the likes of Che Bunce, Danny Hay, and Noah Hickey who wouldn't. The first game exposed the team's defensive issues, and while they were better in the second, they mustered little in the way of chances.

June 4, 2006 - 4-0 loss to Brazil
A game arranged in the buildup to the 2006 World Cup, where Brazil were set to face Australia, who had qualified out of the Oceania confederation, but were about to move to the Asian confederation. Played in Geneva, Switzerland, in front of a crowd of 32,000, the All Whites were described as beaten but far from disgraced. Two late goals ran up the scoreline.

Winston Reid was sent off playing against Paraguay in Wellington in 2010.

Winston Reid was sent off playing against Paraguay in Wellington in 2010.

March 28, 2007 - 5-0 loss to Venezuela
A hiding on the road that came on the heels of a 4-0 loss to Costa Rica, and led to coach Ricki Herbert blasting the state of the country's players, and hoping it would turn out to be a turning point in their quest to qualify for the 2010 World Cup - which it was. Their next game was a 2-2 draw with Wales that May, widely considered the point where the run towards South Africa in 2010 began.

June 24, 2010 - 0-0 draw with Paraguay
The All Whites' final game at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where a win would have seen them advance to the knockout stages, but the draw meant they finished third in the group. Despite finishing unbeaten, with three draws, coach Ricki Herbert was criticised afterwards for not giving it a crack, and in particular, leaving attacking midfielder Michael McGlinchey on the bench. Paraguay only needed a draw to advance, but even so, they outshot the All Whites 17-4 (5-0 on target) and were the better side.

October 12, 2010 - 2-0 loss to Paraguay
The second of two home games arranged in part to celebrate the All Whites' unbeaten effort at the World Cup. The hosts were coming off a last-gap 1-1 draw with Honduras in Auckland, but were well beaten. The most memorable aspect of this game, played in Wellington, was that Winston Reid was sent off for a nasty challenge in stoppage time.

 - Stuff


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