The All Whites' road to the 2026 football World Cup has been made a whole lot easier, with Oceania being granted an automatic place for the expanded tournament in the latest FIFA proposal.
At the moment, any team belonging to the Oceania confederation would have to qualify for the current 32-team edition of the game's global showpiece via a play-off with the fifth placed team in the South American confederation.
However with the tournament being expanded to include 48-teams for 2026, it is likely that Oceania would be granted one automatic place for the first time.
FIFA's new proposal would see Europe awarded 16 automatic places, nine for Africa, eight for Asia, six for both central and south America with Oceania awarded the last spot, the last two spots would be contested by a six team playoff tournament.
The proposal is a major step towards the All Whites being able to cement a regular place at the football World Cup, having only previously qualified twice in the past - first in 1982, and more recently in 2010.