White here white now
The World Cup has started but according to Stephen Bradshaw no-one has noticised in New Zealand.
Last Updated: 15/06/10 11:01am
Fill a page with what you know about New Zealand soccer. OK, like 99% of the World, I would find it difficult to fill the back of a postcard. And in New Zealand, unless you are a real soccer fan, you would be hard pushed to name any of their soccer stars. It's a bit like it was in the USA a few years ago when the World Cup was held there.
So you will excuse me including some perhaps tenuously related material to fill out my blogs. Interesting facts like - only 5% of the population of the country is human! The trouble with facts on the Internet is that sometimes what they say is not quite what they mean to say.
The streets of Auckland are not roamed by club wielding Neanderthals hunting down the dwindling population of human beings for sport. There is a large and varied population of animals which far out number the homo sapien newcomers.
While desperately trawling the web for any information on the Kiwis' interest the World Cup, I realise that , unlike in my typical English street, there are not flags flying from every window, and the country's industry will not grind to a halt on three days in the next 2 weeks, in the name of soccer.
Of course New Zealand is a great sporting nation, meaning of course that it is the greatest rugby nation in the world! This year is their centenary season and the press is focused on this.
Soccer gets a mention, but more in the way that the British press would write about synchronized swimming or tandem racing (apologies to fans of these sports. It's as if they feel that they should drum up interest but they don't quite believe that they can win it!!
One newspaper article explains, not only the finer points of the game of soccer, but also gives advice on how best to enjoy the games from the comfort of the armchair.
The article urges readers to render those famous football chants "there's only one Rory Fallon" and "we all dream of a team of Ryan Nelsens". With apologies to these two fine players from the English leagues, that about sums up the great depth of talent in the nation.
There are many ex-pats out there who will be supporting New Zealand and, of course, England, Korea, South Africa and maybe even Australia (a bit like flying the England Flag in the centre of Glasgow!)
My research has thrown up one word which will fill up my blog. Supposedly, it surpasses that famous Welsh village name as the longest place name in World - Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapohaiwhenuakitanatahu - meaning the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid climbed and swallowed mountains, known as the Landeater, played his flute for his loved one.
I will be waving my New Zealand flag in front of the telly next Tuesday, when we take on Slovakia - Come on you Whiiiitttes! White here, White now!
Can Rory Fallon help the All Whites to victory? Will soccer ever rival rugby in New Zealand? Let us know by filling in the feedback form below...