26 Jun 2012

Battle brewing over where the All Whites will play home games

6:31 pm on 26 June 2012

New Zealand Football's looking right around the country to see where the All Whites will play three home World Cup qualifying matches from September to March.

The draw for the third stage of qualifiers has been made with a grudge match first up on September the 7th in Noumea against New Caledonia - the team that knocked the All Whites out of the OFC Nations Cup earlier this month in Honiara.

The New Caledonians, the Solomon Islanders and Tahitians all play games here and New Zealand Football Chief Executive Grant McKavanagh won't rule out the likes of Christchurch hosting a game in late winter conditions.

McKavanagh says it could be just the ticket to play Island sides used to hot temperatures of up to 40 degrees on a chilly, wet night in Christchurch.

But he warns the recent Nations Cup experience shows how the gap's closed in world football, so the All Whites need the man in the stand supporting them - wherever the games are played.

New Plymouth's also a contender along with Auckland, Wellington and the roofed Dunedin stadium.

The Solomon Islands visit New Zealand for the first home game of the campaign on September the 11th while the October window sees home and away ties against Oceania champions Tahiti in Papeete on October the 12th, and in New Zealand four days later.

New Caledonia travel to New Zealand for a Friday night match on March the 22nd before the All Whites conclude stage three in Honiara against the Solomon Islands on March the 26th.

The winner of stage three progresses to a home and away playoff against the fourth best team from the North and Central American CONCACAF federation in November next year for a place among the 32 finalists at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.