6 Dec 2009

We could have wins at World Cup, reckons 1982 captain

10:49 am on 6 December 2009

The captain of the only other New Zealand squad to have contested a Football World Cup tournament says the current All Whites are good enough to pick up points in South Africa next year.

Drawn in group F at the 2010 tournament, New Zealand will play 2006 champions Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia in its pool round.

At 77th in the world, the All Whites rank well below 34th-placed Slovakia and Paraguay (30th). But 1982 All Whites captain Steve Sumner says they're good enough to come away with a win or two if they put in the preparation over the next few months.

He hopes they will be inspired by what his team did, becoming the first Oceania side to score goals at a World Cup tournament.

Coach sees best chance in opening game

All Whites coach Ricki Herbert says New Zealand's best chance of a win will be in its opening game against Slovakia, which is making its first World Cup appearance.

The All Whites play Slovakia on 15 June, Italy on 20 June and Paraguay on 24 June. All three games are at altitude, so the squad will need to acclimatise as soon as possible, Herbert says.

Acting Sports Minister Gerry Brownlee says it was always going to be tough regardless of which pool New Zealand drew. But the All Whites are on a different footing to what they were a few years ago, he says, and he's backing them to do well.

He says he is confident South African authorities will be on top of any security issues at the tournament.

Travel packages up to $20,000

One of the country's largest travel agencies says packages for fans wanting to see the All Whites play at next year's football World Cup will come at premium prices.

Brent Thomas of House of Travel says prices are likely to be similar to packages for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, which cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

Spain shows out as early favourite

British bookmaker William Hill has made European champion Spain the favourite to win the cup, at odds of 4-1. England, which got a favourable draw, is rated second at 5-1.

Televised live from Cape Town on Saturday morning, the draw was watched by an estimated 200 million viewers worldwide. Here's how it came out:

Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France

Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece

Group C: England, United States, Algeria, Slovenia

Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana

Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon

Group F: Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia

Group G: Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal

Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile