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Published on : Monday, November 18, 2013
The All Whites have a mountain to climb in the second leg of their intercontinental FIFA World Cup qualification playoff after they were soundly beaten 5-1 by Mexico at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico last week (13.11.13).
The New Zealand national team must beat Mexico by a margin of four unanswered goals to have any hope of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. But there could be no better place to entertain that dream than in Wellington – the ‘spiritual home’ of New Zealand football.
Wellington boasts the only professional football team in New Zealand, The Wellington Phoenix, and it was the Phoenix’s home ground of Westpac Stadium that played host to one of New Zealand football’s most famous victory. The 1-0 win against Bahrain in 2009 sent the All Whites to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and cemented the city’s love affair with the beautiful game.
The promise of an All White victory against the feisty Mexicans may seem remote, but like most things in football, it isn’t impossible. In 1980 Mexico came to New Zealand shores and were beaten by the All Whites with the exact score needed to progress to the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday night – 4-0.
It is this glimmer of hope that has seen Wellington call on football fans around the country to turn the city white on Wednesday. A sell-out crowd of around 37,000 are expected to attend the game at the waterfront stadium and Wellington is hoping to see football fans turn out ‘all white’ to support the national side.
No matter what the result, Wellington – known as the ‘creative capital’ – is ready to put on a show. A fan trail and a parade will leave from Queens Wharf on the sparkling Wellington waterfront, before taking in various landmarks and entertainment on the way to Westpac Stadium.
There is also a distinctly Mexican feel in the city, in honour of the All Whites’ opponents. Just a short walk from the downtown stadium, visitors can immerse themselves in New Zealand’s colourful and cultural history at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa – they can also experience a taste of Mexico with Aztecs: Conquest and Glory a major exhibition that tells the dramatic story of the Aztec civilisation.
Wellington is also home to some of New Zealand’s best Mexican restaurants and bars, establishments that are sure to be packed full of passionate football supporters come game day.
Pan de Muerto is a Mexican restaurant and specialist tequila bar that is highly regarded for its friendly atmosphere and authentic food.
Viva Mexico, just off the aptly named Cuba Street – a quirky hub brought to life with its range of restaurants, bars, cafés and street art – brings a real taste of Mexico to the heart of the city.
Visitors looking for a margarita that stays faithful to the Mexican way should look no further than La Boca Loca. Located in the film-making hub of Miramar (home to Weta Digital, Weta Workshop, Weta Cave, Park Road Post and Stone Street Studios) La Boca Loca’s tasty fare and famous margaritas have made the restaurant an international hit.
FIFA U-20 World Cup
The All Whites clash against Mexico is just the beginning of football fever in New Zealand. In 2015 seven cities across the North and South islands will play host to some of the hottest young talent in world football when the FIFA U-20 World Cup comes to town.
The tournament will run for three weeks from 30 May to 21 June 2015, and 24 national teams will be hosted, playing 52 matches throughout New Zealand. Some of the world’s top football stars will attend the tournament and more than 7,000 fans are expected to arrive in New Zealand to support their teams.
Source:- Tourism NZ