1982 World Cup
New Zealands achievement in qualifying for the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain ranks as one of New Zealand Sports greatest moments. So great is it in the New Zealand psyche that all you need to say is Ď82í and people know just what you are referring to. A sport that traditionally struggled for media coverage suddenly became the darling of the press. Players that were largely unknown became household names almost overnight and a nation was captivated by a fairytale few have seen before or since.
Those that played any part in the roller coaster journey will forever remember some wonderful moments. Over time the good seem to cloak the bad. How many can remember the struggle against the Saudiís at home, the late Kuwait equaliser after a dodgy corner ruling, or the agony of 45 scoreless minutes against Saudi Arabia on the articifical turf in Riyadh. Who needs to when Grant Turners header against Aussie springs to mind, or Ricki Herberts heroics against Saudi Arabia with the last minute equaliser or the marvellous yet nerve tingling night in Singapore that finally saw New Zealand through over the might of China. Whew, what a campaign.
On the way to reaching the finals New Zealand would experience many highs and lows and set a few records for good measure. At the time New Zealand travelled further (55,000 miles), played more games (15), scored more goals (44), and took the longest time of all nations before them to qualify for the finals. Add to that the record (since eclipsed) score of 13 nil against Fiji, the longest time without conceding a goal (921 minutes) and New Zealand Soccer was making all the right headlines.
Surprisingly for a campaign so long and involved, there were just 20 players that made an appearance during qualifying. Figures in brackets are games as substitutes.
Richard Wilson, Bobby Almond, Ricki Herbert, Steve Sumner, Duncan Cole, 15 each; Steve Woodin, 14; Glenn Dods, Grant Turner, 13; Brian Turner, 12; Keith MacKay 11(1); John Hill, 9 (2); Adrian Elrick, 8 (4); Allan Boath, 3 (4); Wynton Rufer, 3; Billy McLure, 2 (1); Clive Campbell, 1 (6); Sam Malcomson, 1 (4); David Bright, 0 (1); Peter Simonsen, 0 (1); Glen Adam 0 (1).
Add to that appearances in the finals themselves where Frank Van Hattum played all three matches in goal and Ken Cresswell played all three matches at fullback.
New Zealandís 44 goals in qualifying were scored by Brian Turner 9, Grant Turner 8, Steve Wooddin 8, Steve Sumner 8, Wynton Rufer 4, Ricki Herbert 2, Duncan Cole 2, and Adrian Elrick, Keith MacKay and Billy McLure one each.
Steve Sumner and Steve Wooddin Scored for New Zealand in the finals in the 2-5 loss against Scotland.