To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

New Caledonia and New Zealand grab soccer world cup win

Oceania’s pathway to the OFC Nations Cup/2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is now a two-horse race after New Caledonia and New Zealand recorded big victories over Fiji and Vanuatu respectively.

New Caledonia has all but ended Fiji’s hopes in the competition with a 4-0 demolition of Juan Carlos Buzzetti’s team. Influential midfielder Pierre Wajoka (pictured) opened the scoring after 29 minutes before Michel Hmae scored his first goal just two minutes later to give Didier Chambaron’s team a useful 2-0 first half edge.

New Caledonia put the result beyond doubt with two similarly quick strikes again from Hmae after 60 minutes and then through Marius Mapou in the 63rd minute.

New Caledonia had two players yellow carded with Longue and Bako receiving cautions whilst Fiji saw three players cautioned with Valerio Nawatu, captain Pita Rabo and midfielder Tuvura all yellow carded by the referee. The defeat means Fiji are all but eliminated from the competition.

Ricki Herbert’s New Zealand team were too powerful for Vanuatu defeating the visitors 4-1 at Westpac Trust Stadium thanks to goals from David Mulligan in the 14th and 81st minutes and Shane Smeltz with a 29th penalty and a 34th minute.

Vanuatu earned a consolation goal when substitute Francois Sakama pulled one back in the 50th minute but the New Zealanders were in control from start to finish striking the woodwork on at least two occasions.

The victory puts New Zealand in first place with three wins from three matches in the competition and odds-on favourites to lift the OFC Nations Cup and secure the Stage 3 qualification berth for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.


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