5 Dec 2009

New Zealand to face defending champions at football World Cup

12:25 pm on 5 December 2009

New Zealand have been drawn in Group F and will meet Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia at the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa.

New Zealand will play Slovakia in their first game on June the 15th.

Defending champions Italy are favourites to win the pool, and won the World Cup in 1982 when New Zealand made their only other appearance at the tournament.

That year the All Whites were drawn in "the group of death" with Brazil, Scotland and the Soviet Union and lost all of their matches.

New Zealand's best chance for a win next year is against Slovkia who are making their first appearance at the World Cup and are ranked 34th. Paraguay are ranked 30th.