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All Whites to meet New Caledonia in OFC Nations Cup semis

HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS – The All Whites path to the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil has taken shape after a 1-1 OFC Nations Cup draw with the Solomon Islands confirmed them as Group A winners and booked a semi final against New Caledonia on Friday.

Chris Wood scored in the 14th minute. Photosport.co.nz

June 6, 2012

HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS – The All Whites path to the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil has taken shape after a 1-1 OFC Nations Cup draw with the Solomon Islands confirmed them as Group A winners and booked a semi final against New Caledonia on Friday.

Should they beat Les Cagous they will face the winner of Tahiti and the hosts in Sunday’s continental final.

New Zealand were already through to the top four, and the next stage of 2014 World Cup qualifying, thanks to wins over Fiji and Papua New Guinea so All Whites coach Ricki Herbert rang the changes to his line up, handing an opportunity to a host of younger players, seven off them with less than a 10 caps to their name so far.

Asked to focus solely on the semi finals, Ivan Vicelich, Mike McGlinchey, Chris Killen, Shane Smeltz and Ben Sigmund were left off the team sheet altogether and the suspended Tony Lochhead is another senior player who will be refreshed for Friday.

“We exposed a whole new team to arguably the toughest team in the tournament,” said Herbert.

“It was great for them to get that level of exposure and at times it was really tough for them.”

“We rested a whole lot of players today and there’s a lot of tired young ones going away today with a good reflection on international football. It’s not easy coming to the islands but they’ve done us proud and retained that top spot.”
The match followed the now familiar pattern of an early All Whites goal – this time from Chris Wood with a sublime chest, turn and volley in the 14th minute – and sustained pressure from their opponents with a raucous home crowd adding a degree of difficulty for Herbert’s young guns.

Half chances to Rory Fallon and Tim Payne before the break weren’t converted and New Zealand struggled to put an inspired Solomons side away.

Former Waitakere United striker Benji Totori was a constant menace to New Zealand’s back four and had the capacity Lawson Tama Stadium crowd on the feet with every touch.

He went narrowly wide on three occasions before, in the 57th minute, he picked out the top corner after a typically mazy run to spark wild celebration inside and outside of the stadium. He also flashed a shot just off the mark in the sixth minute of injury time as the Solomons looked to improve a result that was already their best against New Zealand. 

In the day’s other match, Papua New Guinea ended Fiji’s chances of overhauling the Solomon Islands by holding them to an entertaining 1-1 draw in the early kickoff.

The winner of the OFC Nations Cup qualifies for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup while the four semi finalists all progress to stage three of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying a round robin played in September, October and March.

OFC Nations Cup / FIFA World Cup qualifying
New Zealand 1 (Chris WOOD 14’)
Solomon Islands 1 (Benjamin TOTORI 57’)
Halftime: 1-0

June 6, 2012
Lawson Tama Stadium
Honiara, Solomon Islands

New Zealand: 13-Jake GLEESON (GK), 2-Tim MYERS, 5-Tommy SMITH (captain), 6-Ian HOGG, 7-Leo BERTOS (16-Jeremy BROCKIE 59’), 11-Marco ROJAS (17-Kosta BARBAROUSES 59’), 14-Rory FALLON (23-Adam MCGEORGE 63'), 18-Aaron CLAPHAM, 19-Michael BOXALL, 20-Chris WOOD, 22-Tim PAYNE.
Substitutes not used: 12-Glen MOSS (RGK), 21-Cameron HOWIESON.
Suspended: 3-Tony LOCHHEAD.
Unavailable: 1-Mark PASTON (GK), 4-Ben SIGMUND, 8-Michael MCGLINCHEY, 9-Shane SMELTZ, 10-Chris KILLEN, 15-Ivan VICELICH.
Coach: Ricki HERBERT

Cautions: Tommy SMITH 34’

Solomon Islands: 20-Felix RAY JNR (GK), 2-Hardies AENGARI, 4-Jeffery BULE, 5-Henry FA'ARODO, 6-Tome FAISI, 9-Freddie KINI (21-Joshua TUASULIA 38’), 13-Leslie NATE, 14-Joses NAWO (12-James NAKA 85’), 17-Nelson SALE KILIFA, 19-Benjamin TOTORI, 22-Jack WETNEY.
23-Aleck WICKHAM.
Substitutes not used: 1-Shadrack RAMONI (GK), 3-Mostyn BEUI, 7-Abraham INIGA, 10-Joe LUWI, 11-Nicholas MURI, 15-Seni NGAVA, 16-Loni QARABA, 18-Himson TELEDA.
Coach:  Jacob MOLI

Cautions: Joses NAWO 69’

Standings

 

Group A

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

PTS

Tahiti

3

3

0

0

18

5

13

9

New Caledonia

3

2

0

1

17

6

11

6

Vanuatu

3

1

0

2

8

9

-1

3

Samoa

3

0

0

3

1

24

-23

0

 

 

Group B

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

PTS

New Zealand

3

2

1

0

4

2

2

7

Solomon Islands

3

1

2

0

2

1

1

5

Fiji

3

0

2

1

1

2

-1

2

Papua New Guinea

3

0

1

2

2

4

-2

1

OFC Nations Cup
2-10 June 2012
Lawson Tama Stadium
Honiara, Solomon Islands
Matches streamed online at www.oceaniafootball.com; broadcast live on Sky Sports

Semi finals
Tahiti v Solomon Islands
June 8, 11am (12pm NZT)

New Zealand v New Caledonia
June 8, 3pm (4pm NZT)

Final
June 10, 3pm (4pm NZT)

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