New Zealand handed home advantage boost

WELLINGTON - New Zealand have been handed a slight advantage for their World Cup playoff at the end of the year after FIFA announced that they would play the second leg of the qualifier at home. New Zealand, whose only previous appearance at the World Cup finals came in 1982, are just two matches away from a place at next year's tournament in South Africa after winning the Oceania division. The All Whites are scheduled to play the Asian confederation's fifth-placed team (yet to be decided) over two legs, away on October 10 then at home on November 14, after the draw was made at the FIFA Congress in the Bahamas. New Zealand Football chief executive Michael Glading said it was a bonus to have the second leg at home. "It's a real positive for us," Glading said in a statement on Wednesday. "Knowing what you have to do going into the final match is always a preference."