23 Jul 2012


1:54 pm on 23 July 2012

Though men's football has been played at every modern Olympics except 1896 and 1932, and the women's since 1996, this year's Games in London is only the second time that New Zealand teams from both sexes have qualified for the event.

At the 2008 Beijing Games, neither the men's nor women's teams made it further than the group stage.

There is no age restriction in the women's event. In the men's competition, all but three of the team must be under 23.


New Zealand's national side the Football Ferns are the opening act of the London Olympics, playing hosts Great Britain in Cardiff on 25 July, two days before the Opening Ceremony.

While the New Zealand side is in a tough group, with Cameroon and Brazil, coach Tony Readings has named the most experienced squad ever announced for major tournament.

Ten players have 50 caps or more to their credit, including captain Rebecca Smith, who plays professionally in Germany and Hayley Moorwood, who plays for English club Chelsea in the Women's Super League.


The three over-age players in the Oly Whites are captain Ryan Nelsen, who led the All Whites in the 2010 World Cup and plays for Queens Park Rangers in the English Premiership; striker Shane Smeltz, the all-time leading goal-scorer in Australia's A-League; and Michael McGlinchey, who represented Scotland until changing allegiance to New Zealand - his country of birth - in 2009.

The Oly Whites have 10 other players with full international caps, including established All Whites Tommy Smith and Chris Wood, and up-and-comers Kosta Barbarouses, Marco Rojas and Jake Gleeson.

The New Zealand men have a good chance of getting past the group stage in London, with Brazil, Belarus and Egypt their pool opponents.


Oly Whites: Ryan Nelsen (captain, defender), Jake Gleeson, Michael O'Keeffe (goalkeepers), Ian Hogg, Tim Myers, Tommy Smith, Adam Thomas, James Musa (defenders), Tim Payne, Michael Mcglinchey, Alex Feneridis, Cameron Howieson, Adam Mcgeorge (midfielders), Kosta Barbarouses, Shane Smeltz, Chris Wood, Marco Rojas, Dakota Lucas (forwards).

Coach: Neil Emblen.

Football Ferns: Rebecca Smith (captain, defender), Jenny Bindon, Rebecca Rolls (goalkeepers), Ria Percival, Anna Green, Abby Erceg, Ali Riley, Kristy Hill, Rebekah Stott (defenders), Katie Hoyle, Hayley Moorwood, Kirsty Yallop, Betsy Hassett, Annalie Longo (midfielders), Amber Hearn, Sarah Gregorius, Rosie White, Hannah Wilkinson (forwards).

Coach: Tony Readings.

Some information sourced from www.olympic.org.nz

Where and when

Matches will be played throughout the United Kingdom from 25 July to 11 August.

Finals: At Wembley Stadium in London. Women's: 9 August; Men's: 11 August.