Women's World Cup qualification: New Zealand continue to dominate OFC
Credit: Getty/Quality Sport Images

Women's World Cup qualification: New Zealand continue to dominate OFC

The superpower in OFC, New Zealand made no mistakes as they reached their fifth World Cup

chloe-leadbeater
Chloe Leadbeater

In a historically one-sided OFC Women's Nations Cup, New Zealand avoided any slip ups to claim the lone OFC berth at the 2019 World Cup.

Group Stage

With the diminutive nations of New Caledonia, Tahiti and Samoa as well as Papua New Guinea comprising Group A, few knew what to expect from from the four nations who had dropped off of the FIFA ranking. 

As Lakatois streaked to the top of the group with hefty wins over their opposition, the fight was on for second place. Having fallen to a 5-0 loss against Papua New Guinea in their first match, Samoa came away with a 5-5 draw against Tahiti before falling to a 2-0 loss to tournament hosts, New Caledonia. On the back foot after their own opening day match against the hosts, Tahiti's draw against Samoa was their high point, the French Polynesian team finishing their tournament with a 3-1 loss to PNG. Drawing in respectable crowds, New Caledonia claimed their spot in the knock-outs after a 4-2 win over Tahiti, a 6-2 loss against Lakatois and a win over Samoa.

Group B contained the only two FIFA ranked OFC teams who had made the final tournament, heavyweights New Zealand as well as Fiji with the Cook Islands and Tonga rounding out the set.

Just as in Group A in Koné, the goal rained in in Nouméa with the Football Ferns firing in 27 goals over the three matches without conceding. With 11 against Tonga, six against the Cook Islands and ten against Fiji, Tom Sermanni's team showed little restraint. Like in the other group, the race was on for second.

With a population of just under 18,000 the Cook Islands could do little against the might of the bigger teams and along with their 6-0 loss to New Zealand they let in three against Fiji before falling to a 1-0 loss to Tonga in their last match. Having the unfortunate distinction of the worst defensive record of the eight teams in the group stage, Tonga shipped 23 goals in two games, their 11-0 loss to New Zealand topped by a 12-0 loss to Fiji. Having hit Tonga for 12 and the Cook Islands for three, Fiji were fast brought back down to earth as they let ten in against the Ferns - their two wins enough for a spot in the knock-outs.

Finals

With only one spot up for grabs in OFC, this knockout stage was crucial for everyone. Fiji had only ever come fourth in 1983 and 1998 and had to come through qualifying to make it to this stage, clearly there was something special about this team as they saw off Papua New Guinea 5-1.

Pulling a crowd of 1,200 New Caledonia  were no match for New Zealand in their semi final. Falling to a 8-0 loss, there was little the hosts could do as the Ferns brushed them aside, seven goals to the good at the break including a first half hattrick from Emma Rolston.

Playing for pride Papa New Guinea saw New Caledonia off with ease, registering a 7-1 win, the conciliation goal for the home side scored by Jackie Pahoa on the hour. 

Not quite as potent as in their group meeting, New Zealand avoided any shocks with a 8-0 win over Fiji with Sarah Gregorius, Betsy Hassett and Rosie White all grabbing braces in the final, the other two goals scored by Meikayla Moore and Katie Roord.

VAVEL Logo