All White on the night

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - World Cup Special - By STEPHEN BRIGGS

A FOOT­BALL fan from the other side of the world is hop­ing it will be All White on the night as his team starts their World Cup cam­paign to­day.

For the first time in 28 years, New Zealand will take to the field in the FIFA World Cup fi­nals to­day as they take on Slo­vakia – and will be hop­ing to do a lit­tle bet­ter than their only other ap­pear­ance in Spain 1982, when they were beaten by peren­nial World Cup flops Scot­land.

Auck­land na­tive Sean Gi­b­lin (37), who has set up home in Hampton Har­gate, was one of the few Ki­wis who fol­lowed the All White’s progress in ‘82, at­tend­ing all the squads’ qual­i­fy­ing matches and stay­ing up into the small hours to fol­low the team’s progress in Spain.

Now he is try­ing to per­suade wife Steph to turn her back on her English roots to sup­port New Zealand as they be­gin their cam­paign to­day.

He said: “Steph says she is go­ing to sup­port Eng­land, but I am try­ing to get her to sup­port New Zealand. We also have a 10-month-old son, Ai­dan, who I hope will sup­port New Zealand when he is older.

“She has got used to me wear­ing New Zealand shirts and fly­ing flags and she will be cheer­ing us on – so long as we are not play­ing Eng­land.

“Ob­vi­ously, rugby is the main sport in New Zealand but foot­ball is get­ting big­ger all the time. There were 30,000 peo­ple there when we qual­i­fied against Bahrain, much more than the 2,000 we used to get.”

The biggest game of the All Whites’ World Cup will come on Sun­day when they take on Italy, but Sean said he was just hop­ing the team does bet­ter than their last at­tempt.

He said: “Last time we only scored two goals and went out in the first round.

“It will be tough this time, be­cause we are only ranked 78 in the world and we have some tough games.

“We have a few good play­ers and Black­burn de­fender Ryan Nel­son is prob­a­bly our best player. But we have a few oth­ers like Rory Fal­lon, who scored the goal to get us here, and Chris Wood, who plays for West Brom. If we can get past the first round, we will have done very well.”

Pic­ture: alan storer.

White on the night: Sean Gi­b­lin will be sup­port­ing New Zealand dur­ing the World Cup. (METP-14-06-10AS049)

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