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New Zealand – The Susan Boyle of the FIFA World Cup?

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Dave Griffith
Dave Griffith

Sepp Blatter, the chief judge for Football's Got Talent, sits at his desk looking a bit perplexed at the nervous man in his late 40's standing on the stage.

“So Ricky… Herbert, where are you from?”

“I’m from New Zealand Sepp.”
 
“And where is that exactly?”
 
“It’s down at the bottom of the South Pacific, near Australia.”
 
“Ok and why are you appearing on Football's got Talent?”
 
“Well Sepp I am hoping to take the New Zealand Football team to the last 16 at the 2010 World Cup.”
 
“OK …. (muffled sniggers and disbelieving gasps) and where have you coached before?”
 
“Well I have never actually coached a team outside of New Zealand before.”
 
“Nowhere else? Oh dear. So who are your star players for this New Zealand Football team that is going to make the last 16 in South Africa?”
 
“Well Ryan Nelsen he plays in the English Premier League for Blackburn Rovers.”
 
“And?”
 
“Ah….. Rory Fallon, he is our main striker, he plays for Plymouth Argyle.”
 
“And where do they play?”
 
“In the English Championship. No wait, they got relegated to League One.”
 
“And your other strikers?”
 
“Chris Killen he plays for Middlesbrough FC in the Championship and Shane Smeltz he plays for the Gold Coast United in the A-League.”
 
“The A-League?”
 
“It is the Australian professional competition”.
 
“OK (more sniggers), and the others?”
 
“Well Winston Reid plays in Denmark and teenagers Chris Wood and Tommy Smith play in England and…..”
 
“So what about the rest? Paston?”
 
“A-League”
 
“Sigmund?”
 
“A-League”
 
“Bertos?”
 
“A-League”
 
“Moss, McGlinchey, Brokie, Lochhead?”
 
“A-league”
 
“What about Vicelich? – Don’t tell me, let me guess… the A-League?”
 
“No Sepp, he plays in the New Zealand Football League.
 
“What's that?”
 
“It’s an amateur competition but it is a national one. Andy Barron plays there to. He got leave from the bank he works in to play at the World Cup.”
 
“How quaint…… what about Elliott?”
 
“Well he is between clubs you might say.”
 
“So he is unemployed?”
 
“Well that is a little harsh, he just hasn’t found a club that wants him at the moment. David Mulligan is between clubs too.”
 
“OK I think we have heard enough about the team now. So who did you beat to get this far?”
 
“Well we dominated the Oceania Nations Cup to top our qualifying group.”
 
“And you beat?”
 
“We beat Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji…well we had a win and a loss against Fiji”.
 
“Lost to Fiji who are…let me see….132 in the FIFA world rankings. Hardly top 16 material are you? But let’s get on with the show. What are you going to sing for us today Ricky?”
 
I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserable.”
 
(More sniggers and nervous laughter)
 
“Very ambitious. OK then take it way”
 
(Music starts and the audience don’t know what to think. It has got car crash written all over it. Ricky stands nervously with his microphone)
 
I dreamed a dream in Wellington. (Ricky’s first soaring notes stun the audience)
I saw the All Whites play in Africa.
I dreamed that hope would never die
I dreamed our team would be a star (lots of applause now)
 
When I was young I played in Spain (“yeah go Ricky” yells someone in the audience)
The 82 World Cup my finest moment
And though we lost in every game
We hoped we’d walk that stage again 
 
For 28 years we did try
But our ranking slipped away
The Aussies would always qualify
Would we ever have our Day? (Triumphant now)
 
Then we battled past Bahrain
Twas nil all there but Rory scored at home
At last our team had found their game
To Africa our fans could roam (The audience are on their feet now)
 
We weren’t seeded to last long
Our battling style no match for anyone
Our WAGS shopped at K-Mart and Glasson
While we just kicked the ball and had some fun
 
A Slovak draw gave the world a jolt
And got a point we’d never had before
Next came the I-Ties, same result
Beat Paraguay and the last 16 is at our door
 
The fade out of the music is drowned out by the cheers and applause of the audience.
 
Sepp cuts in. “That was excellent and unexpected Ricky. Well sung. A very moving rendition. That is a 'yes' from me; you are through to the FIFA World Cup. (more applause)
 
“You realize the last 16 is only a dream though. New Zealand might get lucky against Slovakia but drawing with Italy is a bit far fetched and Paraguay should be too strong, But good on you for believing that team spirit and hard work might get you through - very noble sentiments.”
 
“I know Sepp but without dreams us little guys have nothing. I believe in these boys and they have never let me down yet.”
 
"Come on New Zealand!!! Come on the All Whites!!!!" 
 
 
 

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