There are not more excuses for Fijians and Papuan New Guineans in Qatar: it is do or die. If they want to keep their dream alive to travel back to Qatar but this time by the end of the team to a historic first-ever FIFA World Cup appearance, they just can not fail now – only one of the two sides will keep its hopes alive.
The Fijians started on a high in the qualifying process: Sairusi Nalaubu star shone bright as the Lautoka’s frontman scored a brace to secure a win for his nation against New Caledonia in their opener. Scoring early in the match was great for the Fijians that opted to counter-attack strategy as they were up in the scoreline – the choice proved not effective as they allowed Jordan Wétria to score the equaliser for New Caledonia. The team coached by Flemming Serritslev pushed forward once again and found the winner just before the final whistle thanks to a superb header from Nalaubu after a classy cross coming from team captain Roy Krishna.
Differently from Fiji, the Kapuls were unable to stop New Zealand and fell short by 1-0 after conceding in the second half. The Papua New Guineans fought hard but could not get a positive result against the heavy favourites. But their luck changed against New Caledonia – they ended-up winning with a brilliant goal of the star-striker Tommy Semmy.
The good moment of the Bula Boys just got finished when they faced New Zealand; the 4-0 defeat was too heavy for them and put the Fijians in a bad situation for their decisive game against Papua New Guinea: they must win. A draw means the team coached by Marcos Gusmão will proceed to the next stage while the Fijians will be knocked-out.
A very strong and physical team, Fiji will expect to rely on the quality of its captain Roy Krishna and its prominent striker Nalaubu. The long throws of Ashnil Raju can also be very dangerous for the PNG’s defensive system led by Alwin Komolong.
The Tommy Semmy’s qualities will be a key factor for Papua New Guinea; if the Altona Magic’s player is a good day the possibilites of a win for his country are very high. The eexperience of players such as Daniel Joe and Raymond Gunemba can also be very important for Papua New Guinea.
Both Marcos Gusmão for the Kapuls and Flemming Serritslev for the Bula Boys will have to settle their strategies, motivate its players and unite the troops for their most important game so far in this tournament.