GO ALL WHITES!!!
Being a soccer fan and player myself I was so happy when Vicky asked me to join her on a trip to Auckland with her host family to see New Zealand's national team (called the ALL WHITES) play live at the stadium. The opponent was going to be Honduras and even though none of them are "big players" on an international level I thought it would be quite interesting to see just how teams in the southern hemisphere act on the field. And I was in for a few surprises.
First of all the stadium was rather small. Compared to German/European standards at least. 18.000 tickets were sold - I don't think the stadium would have fit more than 20.000 people anyway.
Second - there was barely any security! You could walk all the way down to the fence and in fact just open the gate and walk right onto the field. Well, I guess you weren't supposed to do that. But you could have, since the gate was not locked and were no more than ten security guards all along the fence.
We had really good seats and both of the teams were seated only a few meters away from us. The game itself was interesting - but frustrating, too. New Zealand had so many chances. They just couldn't bring the ball into the net. I was so reminded of my team back home (no offence girls, I know you're having a hard time right now).
They finally did score in the very last minute (second?) of the first half. Honduras managed to even out during the second half. For some reason both teams were allowed to substitute more than three times. I know it was a friendly game. But I did think certain rules applied anyway. Maybe not down here *lol*
New Zealand had the biggest chance to turn the game into a victory when they got a penalty kick - once again at the very last minute. But to the disbelief of all the 18.000 people THEY MESSED IT UP!
Yet it had been worth watching and the best thing happened after the game was over. Something that I don't think would ever be possible seems to be normal in New Zealand. For all the All White players came to the fence to shake hands with their fans, give autographs AND even have their pictures taken. Unbelievable! I got a few signatures, too. Even that of the president :-) What a nice souvenir!
There are a few more pictures of the game on Facebook.