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All Whites miss Confederations Cup

HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS – A shock 0-2 defeat to New Caledonia in the semi finals of the OFC Nations Cup in Honiara, Solomon Islands today has ended the All Whites hopes of qualifying for a fourth FIFA Confederations Cup.

Ivan Vicelich. www.photosport.co.nz

June 8, 2012

HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS – A shock 0-2 defeat to New Caledonia in the semi finals of the OFC Nations Cup in Honiara, Solomon Islands today has ended the All Whites hopes of qualifying for a fourth FIFA Confederations Cup.

Bertrand Kai with his 60th minute goal – stealing in between Ivan Vicelich and Tommy Smith to latch on to Jacques Haeko’s knock down and lift the ball over goalkeeper Jake Gleeson - and Georges Gope-Fenepej’s injury time goal on the counter attack sealed their place as national heroes and booked a place in Sunday’s final.

They will square off against francophone rivals Tahiti who ousted hosts Solomon Islands 1-0 in today’s other semi.

New Zealand face Solomon Islands in the playoff for third.

All Whites coach Ricki Herbert was frank in his post match appraisal.

“I’m hugely disappointed. I’ve had 52 games in charge and this is one of the worst moments,” Herbert said.

“We had some great chances. We’ve talked about that throughout the tournament but you have to do that with conviction.

“At the end of the day we didn’t get the detail right. There were too many sloppy passes and a lack of quality on the front third of the pitch. This game is about taking chances and we just didn’t do that today.”

The All Whites have already booked a place in the next stage of World Cup qualifying but the ticket to next year’s FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, on offer to the OFC Nations Cup champion, will now be issued in another nation’s name.

 “It’s a real dent. One little blessing is that the World Cup qualifiers are still there and we get a World Cup shot.”

A pitch cut up by an overnight downpour and 13 previous games didn’t help the All Whites fluidity and neither did the 34 degree temperatures but New Zealand still had enough chances to win the match.

The All Whites had been tested throughout the tournament but had managed to score early and grind out results, but this time the early goal didn’t come and the sides went into halftime locked at 0-0.

Jacques Haeko rattled one of Jake Gleeson’s posts with a fierce shot in the ninth minute and it wasn’t until the 22nd minute that the All Whites’ first shot on target came in the 22nd minute from a Kosta Barbarouses header.

Smith and Smeltz had effort cleared off the line in the 33rd minute and three minutes later Tony Lochhead found Shane Smeltz with a cross but the normally clinical marksman failed to hit the target with his header.

A Chris Killen clearance kept Les Cagous at bay just before halftime and after the break a pair of Chris Wood headers were either off target or on target and saved.

New Caledonia’s keeper also kept out a Kosta Barbarouses effort that ricocheted goal ward while Michael McGlinchey  lashed a shot onto the cross bar with 23 minutes remaining.

The introduction of Marco Rojas, with his best cameo of the tournament, added spark but the All Whites just couldn’t break down a determined New Caledonian defence and then suffered a sucker punch in injury time as they threw bodies forward.

“We came here to win the tournament and to go out at this stage is very disappointing,” said New Zealand captain Tommy Smith.

“We were just outplayed on the day. You can’t begrudge New Caledonia their victory. They played better than us on the day. It’s our own fault really.”

OFC Nations Cup
Semi finals

New Zealand 0
New Caledonia 2
(Bertrand KAI 60’, Georges GOPE-FENEPEJ 90+2’)
Halftime: 0-0

June 8, 2012
Lawson Tama Stadium
Honiara, Solomon Islands

New Zealand: 13-Jake GLEESON (GK), 3-Tony LOCHHEAD (14-Rory FALLON 86’), 4-Ben SIGMUND, 5-Tommy SMITH (captain), 7-Leo BERTOS (16-Jeremy BROCKIE 63’), 8-Michael MCGLINCHEY, 9-Shane SMELTZ, 10-Chris KILLEN, 15-Ivan VICELICH, 17-Kosta BARBAROUSES, 20-Chris WOOD (11-Marco ROJAS 63’).
Substitutes not used: 1-Michael O’KEEFE (RGK), 2-Tim MYERS, 6-Ian HOGG, 12-Glen MOSS (RGK), , 18-Aaron CLAPHAM, 19-Michael BOXALL, 21-Cameron HOWIESON, 22-Tim PAYNE, 23-Adam MCGEORGE.
Coach: Ricki HERBERT

Cautions: Leo BERTOS 45+3’, Ben SIGMUND 62’

New Caledonia: 1-Rocky NYIKEINE (GK), 2-Judikael IXOEE, 3-Emile BEARUNE, 6-Olivier DOKUNENGO, 7-Dominique WACALIE, 9-Jacques HAEKO (12-Roy KAYARA 75’), 10-Marius BAKO, 11-Bertrand KAI (13-Noel KAUDRE 88’), 16-Iamel KABEU, 17-Joel WAKANUMUNE, 19-Georges GOPE-FENEPEJ.
Substitutes not used: 4-Georges BEARUNE, 5-Kalaje GNIPATE, 8-Miguel KAYARA, 14-Dick KAUMA, 18-Jonathan KAKOU, 20-Marc OUNEMOA (GK)
Suspended: 15-Jean-Patrick WAKANUMUNE.
Coach:  Alain MOIZAN

Cautions: Rocky NYIKEINE 82’

OFC Nations Cup
2-10 June 2012
Lawson Tama Stadium
Honiara, Solomon Islands
Matches streamed online at www.oceaniafootball.com

Bronze medal match
Solomon Islands v New Zealand
June 10, 11pm (12pm NZT)

Final
Tahiti v New Caledonia
June 10, 3pm (4pm NZT)

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