Shifting the Spotlight

New Zealand’s national soccer team, the All Whites, stole the limelight from its better-known rugby compatriots the All Blacks Saturday by securing a spot in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa – a refreshing change for a country whose sports pages are usually dominated by the oval-shaped ball. New Zealand defeated Bahrain 1–0 in the return leg of the Oceania-Asia playoff game, after the first leg had finished in a scoreless draw. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Gabriele Marcotti, the All Whites can thank two countries for their spot at the World Cup next year: Australia (who successfully petitioned to join the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), leaving New Zealand as “Oceania’s default juggernauts”) and USA – four of the players in the squad played college soccer in the United States, including captain Ryan Nelsen, who went to Stanford.

Tags: All Whites  Football  Rugby World Cup  Rugby World Cup (2010)  South Africa  Wall Street Journal (The)