Their last appearance was in the 1982 World Cup. This time they beat Bahrain, 1-0 with Plymouth’s Rory Fallon scoring a goal just before half time.
The All Whites had to go through some very anxious moments in the second half as Abdulla Omar was brought down in the box by Toney Lochhead for a penalty. The visiting Bahraini fans began celebrating as a draw would mean qualification. But Syed Adnan’s weak effort was saved by goalie Mark Paston, to the delight of thousands of home fans.
There is a special connection to the last All White success. Fallon’s father Kevin, was the assistant coach of that 1982 team. After the match, Fallon said he had not yet caught up with his father.
“I’m looking forward to that. Someone said he was crying before the match. I just want to thank him for all those 6am starts when I was six and the time he has put into me.”
Congratulations to NZ on this special victory!