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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jun 26, 2009

Wellington to host NZ's World Cup playoff

Wellington's Westpac Stadium has been selected as the host venue for New Zealand's World Cup playoff against Saudi Arabia or Bahrain, New Zealand Football (NZF) announced on Friday.

North Harbour Stadium and Waikato Stadium also tendered bids to stage the Nov. 14 match but Wellington won out because of its bigger capacity.

"With a match of this magnitude we need to give ourselves the best possible chance of qualifying," NZF chief executive Michael Glading said in a statement.

"If players feel more comfortable in one venue and we can get an extra 8000 fans playing their part, that could just be the edge needed to realise the dream of reaching the World Cup again."

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain play each other home and away in September with the winner to host New Zealand on Oct. 10 before the return leg in Wellington.

New Zealand have qualified for the World Cup once, in 1982, but advanced to the playoffs this time after winning the Oceania qualifying division.

"This fixture is easily the most important football match ever played in New Zealand," Glading said.

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