The All Whites meet Australia at Eden Park on Saturday seeking their 14th victory in 66 trans-Tasman football clashes,
Here are five of the best New Zealand football victories over Australia.
1: NEW ZEALAND 2 AUSTRALIA 0 (1981 at Sydney Cricket Ground)
Has to be tops for two reasons – Grant Turner’s glorious headed goal and for providing the platform for New Zealand’s 1982 World Cup finals launch. Australian scribes didn’t give the All Whites a hope, but the Socceroos were distinctly second best.
The All Whites grabbed the lead through Steve Wooddin’s lethal left foot after a sparkling move in which Keith (Buzzer) Mackay featured twice.
But it was Turner’s strike – still hailed today as the best header many longtime football pundits have seen – that left an indelible memory.
Turner recalled the best goal of his career in a 2022 interview with Stuff. “Woody got the ball [on the left side] and decided to whack it across to the other side of the park … it was a helluva ball. Buzzer played it on then, rest in peace Colesly [Duncan Cole] put in a helluva cross”.
Turner, 12m out from goal, “tried to head it over the crossbar to give us a bit of time, and it went in! The header was great, the result was great, but beating Australia was fantastic. That goal put us into the next round.’’
It’s history now that the All Whites overcame 15 qualifying games to make the World Cup finals for the first time.
Beating Australia at one of its most iconic sporting venues provided John Adshead’s squad with vital self-belief.
NZ team: Richard Wilson, John Hill, Ricki Herbert, Bobby Almond, Glen Dods, Keith Mackay (Sam Malcolmson), Duncan Cole, Steve Sumner (capt), Grant Turner, Brain Turner (Clive Campbell), Steve Wooddin. Coaches: John Adshead, Kevin Fallon.
2: NEW ZEALAND 4 AUSTRALIA 1(1923, at Newcastle Showgrounds)
Almost 100 years later, this remains the biggest winning margin by a New Zealand team over Australia.
Before 15,000 fanatical Novacastrians in a city dubbed Coalopolis, New Zealand trailed 1-0 after local hero Bill Maunder’s first half goal.
New Zealand captain George Campbell told The Referee (a Sydney sports newspaper) he “did not like the look of things at all at halftime’’, admitting the Kiwis could have been down by “two, or even three’’ goals.
Campbell, who had hit a hat-trick in the second test win in Sydney pinned his hopes on his men’s superior fitness in the 13th match of their tour.
The 34-year-old – who, like Wooddin in 1982, had a cultured left foot – led the charge with four second-half goals. The first was a 30m strike and his third a similarly spectacular 20m effort.
Campbell was chaired and cheered off the field after leading New Zealand to a 2-1 series win.
NZ team: Reg Craxton, Rewi Braithwaite, Bob McAuley, Bill Thomas, Joe Kissock, John Dryden, Bob Innes, Ces Dacre, Harold Balk, George Campbell (c), Charlie Ballard.
3: NEW ZEALAND 1 AUSTRALIA 0 (2002, at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland)
The All Whites’ second consecutive Oceania Nations Cup victory over Australia proved the first was no fluke as they booked a berth at another Confederations Cup finals.
This one was all the more sweeter because it was at home.
Australia were without their biggest stars such as Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell, prompting Ryan Nelsen to declare before the tournament kicked off that the Alll Whites had a great team and deserved to be the favourites.
That proved the case with the All Whites breezing into the final while Australia needed a golden goal to beat Tahiti 2-1 in the semifinals.
Nelsen backed up his claim with the only goal of the final, drifting away from his marker in the 79th minute to meet an Aaran Lines freekick at the back post and steer it home with his left foot.
The All Whites had earlier lost keeper Jason Batty to injury, but James Bannatyne came on for just his third cap and brilliantly tipped a Damian Mori shot over the bar.
All Whites head coach Mick Waitt later dedicated the win to his seriously-ill mum in England, while Nelsen declared his matchwinner the most important goal of his career.”But who cares who got the goal,’’ he said, “just to get a 1-0 win over Australia is tremendous’’.
The victory earned the All Whites a $2 million cheque for qualifying for the 2003 Confederations Cup finals in France where they played France, Colombia and Japan. As Nelsen said at the time most New Zealanders “do not appreciate the enormity’’ of such a major international football tournament. “Nothing in rugby can compare with this’’.
NZ team: Jason Batty (James Bannatyne), Chris Zoricich (c), Gerard Davis, Ryan Nelsen, Duncan Oughton, Mark Burton, Ivan Vicelich, Chris Jackson, Simon Elliott, Aaran Lines, Chris Killen.
4: NEW ZEALAND 1 AUSTRALIA 0 (1998, Lang Park, Brisbane)
Forget the notion that Australia weren’t able to get their best players back from Europe for the 1998 Oceania Nations Cup tournament final upset that earned the All Whites a first trip to the Confederations Cup finals.
Fifa windows were in place then, as now, so clubs were compelled to release players for international duty. New Zealand used the rule to get debutants Aaran Lines (VfL Osnabruck) and Mark Burton (Emden) back from German second-tier clubs, but Australia elected to largely select home-based players from National Soccer League clubs.
Australia scored 23 goals and conceded just two in the lead-up to the final while snuck past Fiji 1-0 in the semifinal. The Australian media snubbed the All Whites in the buildup and there was a palpable air of over-confidence among the small Lang Park crowd as kickoff loomed.
Ken Dugdale had been All Whites coach for just a month before the tournament, but he put out a lineup which frustrated the Australians.
Danny Hay (now All Whites coach) and Gavin Wilkinson (now MLS club Portland Timbers’ chief executive) were immense at the heart of the NZ defence and Chris Zoricich set the tone with an early thundering take-no-prisoners tackle on Brisbane Strikers clubmate Kasey Wehrman.
Under pressure, Australia cracked when Simon Colosimo made an error in the 24th minute. The quicksilver Vaughan Coveny latched onto the loose ball, made a dart past Socceroos skipper Alex Tobin and squared a pass inside for Burton to charge onto. The Wellington product lashed a left-footed shot past Jason Petkovic into the left-hand corner of the net.
Lines and Burton provided composure on the ball, Coveny and Harry Ngata kept the Socceroos defence honest and the Kiwi rearguard and goalkeeper captain Jason Batty clung on for grim death.
The final whistle left the Australians in despair and the All Whites elated at a first win in Australia for 17 years.
There was also the carrot of a place at the 1999 Confederations Cup finals in Mexico, with a $1.5 million bonus, and, as importantly for long-suffering New Zealand fans, a young side encouraged by coach Dugdale to play positive, attacking football.
NZ team: Jason Batty (c), Chris Zoricich, Gavin Wilkinson, Sean Douglas, Danny Hay, Mark Atkinson, Mark Burton, Aaran Lines, Chris Jackson, Vaughan Coveny, Harry Ngata. Substitutes: Che Bunce, Ivan Vicelich. Head coach: Ken Dugdale.
5: NEW ZEALAND 3 AUSTRALIA 1 (1922, Carlaw Park, Auckland).
Worth its rating because it clinched a series win for the side dubbed the ‘All Blacks’ in the first-ever internationals against Australia 100 years ago.
It was a game of “exceptionally high standard’’, The New Zealand Herald claimed, and “easily eclipsed any prior [soccer] contest seen in Auckland’’.
The NZ Truth’s football correspondent, Everton, asserted that “there can be no doubt as to the future of soccer football in New Zealand if the standard of play as shown in the third test can be maintained’’.
New Zealand’s first goal was a cracker, defender Jock Corbett, Ces Dacre and Len Barwell combined in interplay for Charlie Ballard to crack home.
Southlander Ted Cook scored his fourth goal of the series and Dacre – later a New Zealand cricketer – netted on debut.
Training the New Zealand team was the nation’s first English first division footballer, Reg Boyne, back home from a career with Aston Villa and Brentford.
NZ team: Reg Craxton, Rewi Braithwaite, Bob McAuley, Neil McArthur, Jock Corbett, Dan Jones, Len Barwell, Ces Dacre, Ted Cook, George Campbell (c), Charlie Ballard.
1979: NZ 1 Australia 0 at Newmarket Park, Auckland. Duncan Ormond’s goal gave the All Whites their first win over the Socceroos for 56 years.
1987: NZ 1 Australia 0 at Hutt Recreation Ground, Lower Hutt. A Fred de Jong strike effectively earned the All Whites a ‘series’ win after Robbie Ironside’s goal in a 1-1 draw in Melbourne.
1989: NZ 2 Australia 0 at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland. A real face-saver. The All Whites were out of World Cup contention after a 4-1 loss in Melbourne, but Malcolm Dunford (playing out of position in midfield) headed home a Noel Barkley freekick and Billy Wright added a stylish, dipping long-range finish.
CORRECTION: This story was amended on September 26 to correct the score of the 1981 game to 2-0.
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