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100-year anniversary: Socceroos-NZ to play September friendlies

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6th June, 2022
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The Socceroos will face New Zealand in two friendlies this year to honour 100 years of competition between the trans-Tasman rivals.

Though whether the matches are celebratory or funereal will depend on this month’s World Cup qualifying.

Australia will play the All Whites on September 25 at Eden Park, with an Australian leg to follow shortly after in the same international window.

The 1922 match – won 3-1 by New Zealand in Dunedin – was the first officially recorded international fixture for both nations.

The September clash will also break new ground as the first senior international at Eden Park in Auckland, NZ’s feared house of pain and home for the All Blacks.

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It is also New Zealand’s first home match in five years.

“We made a commitment to play more games in Aotearoa for all our national sides. Now with our borders open, I am very pleased we are able to announce this match” NZ Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell said, promising more international football would follow.

New Zealand is by far Australia’s most regular international opponent, though matches have dropped off since Australia’s shift out of the Oceania confederation and into Asia.

The last hit-out between the two rivals was a 2011 friendly in Adelaide, won 3-0 by Australia courtesy of two Josh Kennedy goals and a late James Troisi penalty.

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For both nations, the September matches could be send-off games before the FIFA World Cup in November, or the beginning of a rebuilding process.

Australia and New Zealand are stationed in the Middle East as they prepare to contest qualifying play-offs to reach the World Cup.

Graham Arnold’s side must beat the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday (AEDT) and Peru a week later to qualifying, while the All Whites play Costa Rica in a one-off match to decide whether they reach the Qatar tournament.

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“Our attention right now is obviously focused on … Costa Rica but it is great to know we have this waiting for us in September,” All Whites coach Danny Hay said.

“We know fans want this game but so do the players and staff. Having the chance to finally play at home, play at Eden Park and take on the Aussies is really exciting. I can’t wait.”

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