The white album

That’s yer lot. If just getting to the World Cup was climbing Everest, then three draws, including one with Italy, is getting to the summit, throwing up a bach made from number eight wire, slamming some sausies on the BBQ and cleaning your fingernails with the ice pick.

For me, the All Whites’ cup has been about expectations, and changing them, rapidly. First we were happy to be there. Then we were ecstatic to get a World Cup point off Slovakia. We kind of left ourselves nowhere to go from there, because drawing with Italy (who were poor and old, it must be said) was beyond the wildest expectations – expectations that were ratcheted up to a whole new series of notches when it dawned on everyone we could actually go through to the knockout round. And now we’re all a bit glum now we’re out, and this wonderful ride is over.

Cactus Kate reckons we should have some perspective, but anyone saying this is our greatest sporting achievement is just after easy column inches. You have to *win* something to be OGSA, but we’re right to get excited all the same (I bought the feckin t-shirt). These guys have done us proud, punching WAY above their weight and put the icing on the cake of a very special year in NZ football. We’ve got more of this coming, team, and I’d expect to see some of these All Whites getting snapped up to play in Europe, and  good on them. Let’s just hope Ricki Herbet can be convinced to stay, I love him.

It hasn’t always been pretty viewing, to be perfectly honest, but that’s football – we played our own game, and considering we were aiming for ‘not getting dicked’ going in, this is as good as it gets. On thing that struck me during the all-encompassing post-mortems in the office, watching James McOnie moshing with the brilliant, brilliant crowds in the Republic and seeing little kids wearing their All Whites kits despite the wintery blast, is that supporting the All Whites is fun and rewarding – can you say the same about supporting the All Blacks lately? Be honest.

Last thing, I’m pleased the All Whites have resisted doing the Haka- stark contrast to our Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams, for whom a Haka is an acceptable form of greeting when passing a teammate in the hotel corridor on a night trip to the loo. Like Ryan Nelsen says, “No-one wants to see skinny white guys do the Haka.” Fair play.

This interview with Those Guys Dressed As Kiwis is worth a watch, just to see John Campbell being called “JC” and “Cambo”

Eliminated New Zealand ‘sort of world champions’ – I laughed at this, but hesitated to link, as the site is much funnier than this one. Please come back when you’re done!

Zinedine vuvuzela take down – I lol-ed

Weekend preview

sportreview weekends aren’t what they used to be. Friday night drinking heavily at work. Drinking heavily in a bar. Drinking heavily at home. Watching videos for 24 hours and eating starchy, salty food to recover, before accidentally drinking heavily on Sunday night.


There’s a lot happening this weekend that isn’t me lamenting the fading of youth and opportunities to drink heavily (and responsibly! Har, forgot to mention that!). The All Whites are taking on a ninja.

The NZ Herald have captured a ninja on film, who has ninja-ed their way into the Italian squad.
Ninjas, as well as being awesome, are famed for manouvering silently, killing efficiently and spiderman-like crawling on the ceiling. Football in Italy is serious business, and the ninja call-up reflects how gravely they’re taking the All Whites’ onslaught. Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss will be kicking himself he didn’t bring a ninja, or indeed a sniper or slasher film protagonist on to do a job in midfield. Taking Shane Smeltz, Mark Paston or Winston Reid out of this mortal coil and the game would have greatly increased Slovakia’s chances of hanging on to their one goal lead providing the referee and referee’s assistants were unsighted.
It will be intriguing to see how Marcello Lippi deploys his ninja in the match, with the options of starting him at the top of the ‘christmas tree’ formation to create havoc in the All Whites’ back four (possibly using Shuriken or throwing stars), or bringing him off the bench to do a job. With a sword.
The whole country has gone Winston nuts thanks to his last minute equaliser, including this popular mobility scooter salesman.
Down south, the All Blacks will take on the Welsh in what used to be our national game. The All Whites’ World Cup run has shifted our national game paradigm significantly, it now looks like this:
1. Doing the fingers out the car window

2. Football

3. Rugby

4. Watching netball with a milo, silently wondering what the jiggins is going to happen tomorrow night on Coronation Street

5. Bitching and moaning

The Welsh have a strong rugby talking pedigree, fielding a great side of talkers in the 70s, who won respect with their flair for talking, before losing their talking edge in the 80s and 90s. Importing Kiwi talking talent has helped them become one of the modern era’s most feared talking nations in the six nations. The All Blacks were so rattled by Gatland’s fearsome ‘lost aura’ talking in 2009 that they only won 19-12.

Gatland appears to be keeping his talking powder dry in the build up to this two test series, mainly talking to himself in his hotel room, but there is still time to lay down some serious talking before his team runs on the field to be thrashed soundly. Enjoy your sporting weekend, team, and talk nicely to each other.

World Cup notes 17 June

We drew, we bloody drew.

It seems like half the country stayed up late on Monday, and what a reward for those that stayed awake. Winston Reid’s pinpoint header from Shane Smeltz’s thoughtfully angled cross in the 93rd minute has turned the All Whites from a ‘glad just to be here’ team to ‘we’re capable of reaching the second round. Seriously’ one. And we have a point, a wonderful, wonderful point.

It seems a large part of credit for Winston Reid even playing for us and not Denmark goes to TV3’s excellent football reporter Andrew Gourdie, who reached out to Reid on Facebook. That is social media in action, team, and thank Hadlee he did. Read Naly_D’s Andrew Gourdie interview from a couple of years back.

I’ve watched Ricki Herbert’s reaction to the goal over and over, the little leap, the little run and the big punch into the air. I’m actually in love with his attempts to remain cool, calm and collected in interviews, while obviously bursting with pride, and just a little disbelief at his team’s latest feats.

I felt (a little bit) sorry for Slovakia, their coach dejectedly throwing his water bottle away was the perfect inverse to Ricki’s little run. As we all know, it’s a 93 minute game, and they paid the price for not chasing the second goal. Very European. Low scores are the trend, though, up until the Germany v Australia match the tournament has produced half the shots and half the goals of… Italia 90, officially the most boring world cup ever.

So bring on Italy – as @sportzfreak has pointed out, Italy are the masters of sitting on one goal leads, so you never know. Let’s see more of Fallon mixing it up with these pampered superstars of Serie A like a deranged lobster on P – they won’t like that one bit.


Friend of sportreview Colin Peacock appeared on the Guardian’s World Cup Daily podcast to talk up the All Whites, revealing he flipped over to watch Christopher Walken blow his brains out in Deer Hunter during the second half, before rejoining the match for the winning goal. That’s class.

Is it just me, or does Martin Devlin seem like a post-lobotomoy Murphy from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest? Where’s the spitfire prickly opinions and verbal slapdowns? OK, its TV One, whose target audience is pretty Horlicks-friendly, but COME ON. Its the World Cup team, get frickin excited.

Maicon has scored the goal of the tournment for me so far. OF COURSE it was a shot.

A German boffin reckons he’s sussed out the vuvuzelas with a noise cancelling MP3. Lifehacker has more.

All Whites also surprised to learn New Zealand plays football

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NEWSDESK: New Zealand’s participation in the World Cup finals has been a rich source of comedy for pundits and broadcasters alike in the tournament build up. Most members of the international press were under the impression the South Pacific island nation were more of a rugby playing / sheep shagging / quasi Welsh proposition. “New Zealand? Playing football? Sounds about as likely as Snoop Doggy Dog walking into t’ Rovers  and pooing on the bar, like,” said Pastie Cornish of the Manchester Evening News.

So it was little surprise when the All Whites themselves expressed their astonishment they were in fact a football team at a packed press conference in Johannesburg. “I knew played sport, but I just thought it was touch rugby, I used to play that at Uni,” said Leo Bertos, who was surprised to learn he is a right back. “Turned out to be football – we used to call it poofball! The touch guys are going to give me heaps when I get back.”

Goalkeeper Mark Paston was able to dimly recall a big match in Wellington last year, but said he couldn’t remember due to alcohol-related memory loss. “I recall I had gloves on – but I always wear gloves when its cold, I thought nothing of it. Trip to South Africa? Sure, why not? I didn’t suspect a thing.”

“To be honest, it’s a big weight off my mind to learn we’re playing in the World Cup,” said coach Ricki Herbert. “I had all these people congratulating me in the street and the supermarket, I didn’t know WHAT they were on about – thought I was going farkin mad.” Herbert was confident he and the rest of the New Zealanders staying in his hotel would give a good account of themselves. Playing football. “At the end of the day, we’re here to do a job and not let the country down. Apparently. FIFA have been kind enough to supply some football DVDs for us to watch, and we’ll be down the video shop to rent some football games on the playstation as soon as someone sorts out two forms of ID.”

In other news, the ICC said they would be reviewing the Black Caps’ participation in the recent T20 World Cup in light of today’s revelations.

Growing the game

So we’re taking the Bledisloe to Hong Kong. Again. Taking rugby to Asia sounds like it’d be cool, kind of like Indiana Jones getting on the razz in a Nepalese bar, but is more likely to involve a bloke called Charles Barrington-Unpleasant-Rolls boring your tits off with tales of the ‘barmy’ ‘army’ in a corporate box before vomiting on your shoes.
Getting a disinterested world interested in our interesting game is a challenge – Sporting Consultancy’s proposal involved Clive Woodward being driven through the world’s great cities on the back of a lorry, being repeatedly kicked in the nuts. Let me paint you a picture of the good people of Berlin, Chicago and Mumbai cheering the sickening thud of shoe leather on bollock and the yelping of a knight of the realm. They didn’t buy it.
In the meantime, we can all but dream of a world in the thrall of rugby – a World In Union:
The people of Iceland celebrate Sonny Bill Williams considering his All Black options with a traditional fireworks display.
Afghanistanis unhappy with the latest designs coming out of Canterbury New Zealand.
A Mexican rugby fan clambers to get into Yarrow stadium.
In other news, All Whites captain Ryan Nelson has been touring the country telling us how excited he is about the World Cup – but could he be MORE excited?
All the elements are there – his eyes are clear, not glassy or cloudy, legs crossed casually, and David Bellamy-like talking with his hands. Unfortunately for Ryan, the one audience member we can see is listing to one side, sleeping, or deep in thought, wondering if he left his copy of adult equestrian magazine ‘Horses For Courses’ out in the lounge where his flatmates might see it. With a few small tweaks, Ryan could be THIS excited:
This kind of energy would really lift New Zealand’s Football Fever™ (bought to you in association with Andrew Saville) to another level, and be handy for the All Whites if their matches go into extra time. Prepare the industrial sized tins of Sunny D, for the nation’s sake.

Kicking 2009 when it’s down

Doing a half-arsed wrap up of the year is becoming a tradition here on sportreview – here’s 2009.

If there was one week that summed up 2009 for me, it was seeing the All Blacks *cook* with Italy’s Next Top Model contestants in Milan in the most embarrassing and wooden photo op since Don Brash walked the plank, before our second string players participated in a shitty, shitty match at the San Siro, deeply marred by some shocking officiating from an experienced ref trying to enforce god knows what version of the rulebook is on top of the pile. Any Italians unfamiliar with Rugby watching the match would have found the oval ball code as appealing as toenail ravioli.

Earlier that day, New Zealand qualified for the Football World Cup in front of a crowd wholeheartedly supporting their team.

I don’t want to get into a Rugby v Football debate (although I think the nation’s office kitchens are going to be ringing with that mid year), but I really wish the first of these scenarios was more like the second – clear rules, supporting and having fun, and winning. That would do nicely.

Here’s my year, in sport, in and for me.

2009: big sport stuff

All Whites making the World Cup finals
All of a sudden it’s 1982 again. I’m sure I’m not the only one who this qualification kind of sneaked up on. I wasn’t paying that close attention to the qualifiers, and then suddenly we were two games away, and the whole country was going All Whites crazy and calling it ‘Football’. Wonders never cease. For a country used to grim, po-faced ‘support’ of its Rugby heroes, where Grizz Wylie’s statuesque pose when watching matches is seen as a model for manhood everywhere, not, perhaps more appropriately, something to lean on to keep warm, the Latin explosion of noise and color in the Caketin that night could change our country’s sporting landscape forever. Could. Anyway. We really have something to look forward to this year. Leg Break or ‘lucky git’ as he’s known around here, will be our man in the Guardian’s Fan thingo.

Black Caps
Can’t I just skip this? Andy Moles was out faster than a sneaky fart in a meeting room, and suddenly Dan is player, captain, coach, selector and god knows what else – we would be deeply fucked if we lost him at the moment. We got a little taste of how un-fucked we are without Shane Bond in Dunedin before going back to being just fucked without him.  Everything in my July 2008 Black Caps coach application still applies – we need two things – 1. John Wright and 2. a plan.

Chiefs make the Super 14 Final
Not sure how they got on after that, ah har har

The All Blacks.
We’re still South Africa’s bitches, but how long they can continue a coaching panel the equivalent of a Benny Hill chase scene, I don’t know. I only got to one match, the bitter bitter disappointment in Hamilton. NZ’s other national sport of kicking the All Blacks when they’re down is still alive and well. To me, there wasn’t a lot of difference between the way we played on the end of year tour and in the Tri Nations, it’s just we executed better, and playing against poorer quality sides up north would have helped. It’s still not going well, though, is it? The All Blacks’ 2011 preparations (and make no mistake, it’s ALL about 2011) is still in the ‘Hey! Let’s build a waterfront stadium!’ phase. Must try harder.

New Zealand cyclists kick the world’s arse
New Zealand cyclists had 15 world titles this year, and just this week, up and comer Jack Bauer outsprinted Tour De France riders Hayden Roulston and Julian Dean to win the national Road Race title. We’ve got cycling talent coming out our ears, and it’s looking all on on the track and the road for the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. Pro wise, this year’s Tour De France should be a ripper, with Alberto v Lance and the new Brit Sky team. Can’t wait.

2009: related highlights

I really enjoyed putting this together, there’s some great stuff in here, but NOT ENOUGH! I’m still accepting stalks team.

L&P take down
I wish more companies would piss me off so I could do This Kind Of Thing more often.

This is a lot of fun, and something I’m keen to do more of, if I can find a decent place to record them. The fist few have a certain charm, but the French preview one is where it hits its stride

The Herald showed some love

I won a copy of JRod’s first book

Best 2009 posts: Bowling through Wexford, Dan drops himself, Fight Club Duos, Keith Quinn on Twitter, Rattue joins the All Blacks, Tua / Cameron fight move, Bloggers at the Basin,

Best 2009 cartoons: Player Power, Dingo + shark, SuperDobbers, 18 and life to go,

Tech Talk with Phil Waugh – secretly probably my favorite thing I’ve done all year. Too weird?

2009: Rocking my world

Getting MySky
I CANNOT emphasise enough how much arse MySky kicks. Having long sent the VCR to the downstairs storage of doom, the ability to quickly ‘tape’ anything on a whim has changed my and sportreviewloveinterest’s lives. As a sport blogger, this means I can actually WATCH SPORT again – imagine that! It also means I can fast forward through the weather for the South Island – this makes me very happy indeed.

Starting a tumblr is a pretty low hassle way to make a neat site, and a great way to find new links and photos.

New Bike – conquered some sweet hills on this already.

Top 5 tracks in
1. The Kinks – This Time Tomorrow
2. Beck – Sing It Again
3. Ben Kweller – Thirteen
4. Harry Nilsson – Turn On Your Radio
5. The Velvet Underground – I Found a Reason

In The Loop, Avatar 3D. I didn’t see many movies released in 2009 this year.

Pathetic effort reading wise this year, due to watching too much iPod TV on the bus. I loved White Teeth and Cannery Row, while Man In Full made me very frustrated. Sport-wise, it was Summer 0f 49 and Tana‘s Up Close, continuing the All Black tradition of mildly revelatory bios after they’re safely retired.

So, another year down. I hope you all are enjoying the site, I really enjoy your comments and having some larfs, especially on the twitter. My personal sporting highpoint this year is watching sportreview jr, who’s 19 months now, kick a ball – he hits it hard. He’s going to break the back of some poor unsuspecting net one day.

Related: best of 2008, best of 2006 one, two

Open the Pod bay doors Colin

Top media pundit Colin Peacock of Sunday morning’s Mediawatch (and’s only radio appearance) went boldly where no Kiwi had ever been before, beaming into the Guardian Football Weekly pod to update James, Barry and Sean on the All White’s triumphant sneak to South Africa 2010.

Not only does Colin achieve sport nerd nirvana by appearing on the pod, he does the nation proud with self depreciation, pod protocol inside knowledge (Mee-lan) and by not rising to Jimbo’s ‘sheepish’ line. Nice work.

Here’s the show – Colin comes on at 26’50”.