With Ryan Nelsen as captain the All Whites could be confused for a rugby team [GALLO/GETTY]

The All Whites ensured that there would be no Arab team from outside Africa at the World Cup when they eliminated tiny Bahrain in an Oceania-Asia playoff to reach their second World Cup.

Ricki Herbert's team were helped in qualifying for their first tournament since 1982 by Australia's move to Asia, meaning they took over as top dogs in the weak Oceania zone.

Captain Ryan Nelsen is a successful defender with Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League.

But 78th-ranked New Zealand may have to be satisfied just to be coming to the party, despite a 1-0 warmup win over Serbia.


James Bannatyne (Team Wellington), Glen Moss (Melbourne Victory) Mark Paston (Wellington Phoenix)

Group F fixtures

Monday June 14

Italy v Paraguay 

Tuesday June 15

New Zealand v Slovakia 

Sunday June 20

Slovakia v Paraguay 
 Italy v New Zealand 

Thursday June 24

Slovakia v Italy 
 Paraguay v New Zealand


Andy Boyens (New York Red Bulls), Tony Lochhead (Wellington Phoenix), Ryan Nelsen (captain, Blackburn Rovers), Winston Reid (FC Midtjylland), Ben Sigmund (Wellington Phoenix), Tommy Smith (Ipswich Town), Ivan Vicelich (Auckland City).


Andy Barron (Team Wellington), Leo Bertos (Wellington Phoenix), Jeremy Brockie (Newcastle Jets), Tim Brown (Wellington Phoenix), Jeremy Christie (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Aaron Clapham (Canterbury United), Simon Elliott (unattached), Michael McGlinchey (Central Coast Mariners), David Mulligan (unattached).


Rory Fallon (Plymouth Argyle), Chris Killen (Middlesbrough), Shane Smeltz (Gold Coast), Chris Wood (West Bromwich Albion).

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies