Football: Wellington to host All Whites' World Cup qualifier

All Whites fans cheer on New Zealand during the 2010 World Cup qualifier against Bahrain.
All Whites fans cheer on New Zealand during the 2010 World Cup qualifier against Bahrain.

Wellington's Westpac Stadium will host a New Zealand leg of the Fifa World Cup Intercontinental Playoff should the All Whites reach the final stage of qualification.

The home leg will be staged in November 2017 against the fifth-ranked South American side.

First the All Whites will need to top the Oceania phase of qualifying. New Zealand Football announced today that the All Whites will play their OFC Round Three World Cup Qualifiers at QBE Stadium in Auckland and Westpac Stadium.

The All Whites, who are preparing for a tour of the USA where they will face Mexico and the USA in October, will play their first home World Cup qualifier against New Caledonia on November 12 at QBE Stadium, Auckland - kick-off 3pm.

The World No 88 will then face Fiji at Westpac Stadium, Wellington on March 28 - expected to kick-off at 7:30pm.

New Zealand Football Chief Executive Andy Martin said choosing the venues was a tough decision.

"There was considerable interest from stadiums around New Zealand to host the OFC Round Three Qualifiers, and the potential Intercontinental Playoff should the All Whites qualify, which are staged every four years."

He is confident that All Whites fans will come out in huge numbers like they did when the team defeated Bahrain in 2009 to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

"Even now, seven years on, we have football fans tell us that was one of the best sporting moments they have ever experienced. It was an amazing occasion for football in this country and we hope we can recreate that atmosphere, across the entire qualification competition, and capture the nation once again," he said.

"The All Whites have a very exciting calendar coming up and I am sure the home crowd will play a huge part in the team's chances of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It is a massive opportunity for Anthony Hudson and his team and one they are working incredibly hard towards."

The OFC Nations Cup Champions will then compete with many of the world's best teams at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia in July before they hope to return in August/September for an all-important final OFC playoff match.

All Whites Home Fixtures in 2016/17
November 12 v New Caledonia 3pm - QBE Stadium, Auckland
March 28 v Fiji - Westpac Stadium, Wellington
August/September window - OFC playoff (if the All Whites qualify) at QBE Stadium, Auckland
November 2017 Intercontinental Playoff (if the All Whites qualify) at Westpac Stadium, Wellington

- NZ Herald

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