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Football Ferns

New Zealand 3, China 1
Centre Park, Mangere (Auckland), June 17 2012

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Centre Park in Mangere was the venue for the first of two women’s friendlies between New Zealand and China, and what a brilliant place to watch international football. Too often New Zealand international matches are played at night in large stadia where a few hundred fans rattle around alongside thousands of empty seats and limited atmosphere. It was a very welcome change to be in a laid back environment today, close to the pitch with the players bathed in afternoon sunlight.

Hands up if you knew that the New Zealand Women’s Football team are currently ranked 23rd in the world? The equivalent position on the men’s rankings would be ten places higher than the Czech Republic, Euro 2012 quarter finalists. In recent games the Football Ferns have drawn with the 14th ranked Netherlands, 15th ranked Republic of Korea and 61st ranked South Africa as well as only going down 2-1 to the world’s top ranked team, USA. This squad would all be household names if they weren’t an unfortunate mixture of the two biggest causes of assured public sporting oblivion in this country. Being female and being footballers.

China are currently ranked 18th but have been as high as 4th. Today’s win was hailed over the stadium PA system as the greatest win in New Zealand women’s football history. I haven’t checked, but I suspect it’s the greatest in New Zealand Football history full stop. There have been more important victories, certainly, but I can’t think of a game where the Men’s senior team has beaten a team ranked 18 or higher. If they had, I’m sure it would have led the television news, right?

Congratulations to the Football Ferns, a wonderful result. Game two in this series is at 7:30pm on Wednesday night at North Harbour Stadium. You should totally get along and give the team a great send off for the London Olympics, where at this rate, they might just shock the world.

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

3 replies

  1. Good question, they are currently 34th… One of the inevitable consequences of a post like this is people will say “what about that game in 1963 when…” Someone has pointed out offline that the All Whites beat Mexico 4-0 at Bill McKinlay Park in 1980 which must be right up there… Hopefully my point that women’s football is undervalued is powerful enough to withstand a bit of exposed poetic license. 😉

  2. No worries. I have no idea how high Serbia was ranked in 2010, so I just threw it out there. I just hope that one day the All Whites can be ranked 23rd in the world… (maybe we’ll have to wait until when my son’s wearing the number 10, though. That will be a long time, however, as he’s only four at the moment).

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