Australia and New Zealand will go head-to-head in London during October with the recently rediscovered ‘Soccer Ashes’ on the line.
The two sides will face each other at Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium on Tuesday, October 17, in a clash that is guaranteed to be fiercely fought.
The trans-Tasman rivals played each other twice last year to mark the one-hundred-year anniversary of their first meeting in Dunedin.
The Socceroos triumphed 1-0 in Brisbane and 2-0 in Auckland to continue their historical dominance over their neighbours. Australia have won 42 of their 66 internationals against New Zealand, drawing 11 and losing 13, and will be the bookmakers’ favourites to record another victory at Brentford.
Given their previous record against New Zealand, punters using an instant withdrawal betting app Australia to wager on the Socceroos will undoubtedly be eager to back them against the All Whites.
Australia have delivered winning returns for sports bettors in five of their last six meetings with New Zealand, with the other game ending as a draw. The last time New Zealand upset the betting odds was in an Oceania Nations Cup clash in July 2002, when Ryan Nelsen netted the only goal in Auckland.
Australia are currently gearing up for their World Cup qualifying campaign, and this latest meeting between the two teams will be an integral part of their preparations.
After drawing 2-2 with Mexico in their most recent outing, Australia head coach Graham Arnold says his team will head into the game in a buoyant mood.
“I think regardless of the sport, there’s a rivalry between Australia and New Zealand that we thrive on.” Arnold said.
“We have four games before our World Cup Qualifiers in November, with the Asian Cup to follow in January – this match forms an important part of our preparation and something the group are looking forward to.”
The recent recovery of the Anzac ‘Soccer Ashes’ trophy adds an additional layer of intrigue to a clash between two nations whose rivalry extends across several different sports.
Initially crafted in 1923, the artefact served as the prize for international matches between Australia and New Zealand for 30 years, before being lost and rediscovered earlier this year.
It was a symbol of the Australian men’s national team’s early years, containing the ashes of cigars which were housed in a safety razor case that was carried at Gallipoli.
The wooden casket was constructed from a combination of New Zealand honeysuckle and Australian maple, and contains ashes of cigars smoked by Australian captain Alex Gibb and New Zealand captain Campbell following a fixture in June 1923.
The ashes were sealed in a silver-plated razor case that was carried by Queensland Football Association Secretary, Private William Fisher, at the landing of Gallipoli eight years earlier.
The trophy disappeared off the scene during the 1950s, and historians have been unable to pinpoint the exact reason why this happened. However, its connection to World War I and the early soccer rivalry between the two nations made its rediscovery a hugely poignant moment.
With Australia currently ranked 27th in the world and New Zealand down in 103rd place, sports bettors will no doubt view the Socceroos as a banker bet in their latest meeting. However, the added significance attached to this latest fixture means they would be well advised not to take anything for granted.
Regardless of the outcome, Arnold believes the match will be a fabulous occasion in front of what is likely to be a bumper crowd at the Gtech Community Stadium.
“We’ve had some fantastic battles over the years and I’m sure this will be no different,” Arnold added. “It is a rich history that both nations share, and we are looking forward to writing another chapter in what is a storied rivalry that is driven by our competitive desire and connected through a mutual respect.
“Reinstating the Soccer Ashes is a wonderful way to honour the history of our respective national teams and we’re excited to be playing for them in London in October.”
Tickets for the Australia vs New Zealand fixture are available via Brentford’s official website.