Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Oceania: Tahiti win maiden OFC Nations Cup title

Posted in International Football, Oceania Football by peterbein on June 10, 2012

OFC Nations Cup logoTahiti are the champions of the OFC Nations Cup for the very first time following an exciting final against New Caledonia. Tahiti, whose previous tournament best had been three second placings in 1973, 1980 and 1996, finally scribed their name on the trophy following Sunday’s 1-0 triumph and claimed a place in next year’s FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.

New Caledonia, beaten finalists in the previous tournament in 2008, had caused a huge upset on Friday when disposing of the defending champions New Zealand 2-0 in the semi-finals whilst Tahiti reached the final on the back of a tense 1-0 win over hosts Solomon Islands. The final on Sunday was preceded by the third/fourth play-off match between the two losing semi-finalists with New Zealand clawing back some pride in an exciting 4-3 win over the Solomon Islands. The final, however, didn’t see as many goals but no shortage of tension as Tahiti, thanks to the exotically named Steevy Chong Hue, scored the only goal of the game in the 11th minute of the game. Try as they might, New Caledonia were unable to equalize and Tahiti were able to see out the game and claim a maiden title.

The tiny Pacific island, part of French Polynesia, will be hugely rewarded for their success in the OFC Nations Cup by taking part in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup which could see them pitted against the likes of world champions Spain and tournament hosts Brazil. Tahiti, as well as the other three nations who made the OFC Nations Cup semi-finals, also have the third round of FIFA World Cup qualification to look forward to which begins in September this year.

Oceania: Semi-Final line-up complete as Nations Cup hots up

Posted in International Football, Oceania Football by peterbein on June 7, 2012

OFC Nations Cup 2012 logoThe semi-final line-up of the 2012 OFC Nations Cup is now known following the completion of the tournament’s group stages yesterday.

Defending champions New Zealand have made through to the last four having topped Group B on goal difference over fellow semi-finalists Solomon Islands. Both nations had a record of two wins and a draw from three games but New Zealand’s goal record in their wins over group opponents Fiji and Papua New Guinea allowed them to pip the Solomon Islands, with whom they shared a 1-1 draw yesterday, to the top of the standings.

Group A was won by Tahiti who are the only country still in the competition with a 100% record having won all of their three group matches against Samoa (10-1), New Caledonia (4-3) and Vanuatu (4-1). In a group which was saturated with goals, New Caledonia claimed second place in the group and the final semi-final spot on Tuesday when thrashing tournament whipping boys Samoa 9-0.

Tahiti will meet tournament hosts Solomon Islands in the first of tomorrow’s semi-finals before New Caledonia face off against New Zealand to decide the second Nations Cup finalists. All four countries, as a result of reaching the semi-finals, have also progressed to the third round of FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifying in the Oceania region. Before that important phase of World Cup qualifying begins in September, the OFC Nations Cup will come to a conclusion on Sunday, June 10th with the winners subsequently qualifying for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.