The OFC World Cup qualifiers have reached their decisive stage. New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tahiti dream of a place in the intercontinental play-off against a team from CONCACAF – The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football.
New Zealand and Tahiti will face each other at senior level for the first time in almost ten years. On that occasion, the All Whites won 3-0 in Christchurch, with a brace scored bt Michael McGlinchey.
New Zealand is certainly the dominant country in the OFC region. After a hard-fought win against Papua New Guinea, the All Whites defeated Fiji by 4-0 and smashed New Caledonia by 7-1. Tahiti, meanwhile, played only one game in the World Cup Qualifiers – a 3-1 loss to Solomon Islands – due to the withdrawal of Vanuatu and the Cook Islands after a COVID-19 outbreak.
Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea will meet at senior level for the first time since 2017 – when the Solomon Islanders defeated their opponents by 2-1 with goals from Henry Fa’arodo and Jerry Donga, advancing to the 2018 World Cup qualifying final against New Zealand.
Solomon Islands reach the semifinals after defeating Tahiti by 3-1 with a hat-trick scored by Raphael Lea’i. On the other hand, the Kapuls reached the semifinals by beating New Caledonia and Fiji – after a painful loss to New Zealand.
Both semi-finals will take place on Sunday – March 27: Solomon Islands vs Papua New Guinea – Grand Hamad Stadium – Local time: 5pm and New Zealand vs Tahiti – Grand Hamad Stadium – Local time: 8:30pm.