When Watford teamed up with the World Cup-bound All Whites …

posted in: Heritage, News

Forty years ago, the 1982 All Whites set themselves a rigorous schedule of warm-up matches to prepare for New Zealand’s first appearance at a FIFA World Cup finals.

With the Spain finals looming in June, the All Whites hosted three visits by overseas teams.

In February, Hungary twice beat the New Zealanders by 2-1 scorelines in Auckland and Christchurch.

In early May, a League of Ireland squad toured New Zealand, playing games against the All Whites in Auckland, Rotorua, Gisborne, Dunedin and Invercargill. New Zealand won three of the encounters, lost once and drew the other.

Watford FC

Watford face the Kiwis in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland

The highlight of the preparation came with the visit of the Graham Taylor-managed and Elton John-owned Watford FC.

They played three games against the All Whites with the intention of putting John Adshead’s and Kevin Fallon’s players through their paces against a side still match fit at the end of their domestic English programme.

In Christchurch, Watford edged New Zealand 1-0; in Wellington, the sides drew 1-1 after Steve Wooddin scored for the All Whites; in Auckland, Watford cashed in on two defensive mix-ups to win 2-0 at Mt Smart Stadium.

Photo: A commemorative pennant produced for the Wellington match.

Video replay

Here’s rare footage from Watford’s 2-0 win against the All Whites in Auckland (May 29, 1982):

Match programme

NZ Football produced a glossy programme that was used for all three games.

Read it online now by clicking on the image below:

More match programmes

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